Tribal council locks down police move

SUQUAMISH — Parents whose kids attend the Marion Forsman Boushie Early Learning Center were upset by news last week that the Suquamish Tribe had preliminary plans to move its police and justice departments next door to the center in the Suquamish Village complex.

“Most of the parents were outraged,” said parent Brenda Cook. “I think it’s very wrong to move into an early learning center.”

The center provides day care, infant care, early Head Start and regular Head Start programs run by the tribe. Cook said parents were further concerned when they learned that temporary holding cells would be installed as well..

Many feared for the safety of their children.

However, parents can arrest their worries, as Suquamish Tribal Council decided March 15 to put the idea of moving the two agencies to the business complex behind bars.

While tribal council had planned to move the police department and justice center to the 10,000-square-foot former grocery store, it instead reacted to the concerns of the community, said tribal spokesperson Leonard Forsman.

Besides parents who showed up to express their concerns at Monday’s Forsman added.

After hearing the concerns the council decided “it wasn’t compatible to have those programs adjacent to each other,” Forsman said, adding that something needs to be done about new homes for the police and justice center.

“A lot of those programs are in sub-standard or small facilities,” Forsman explained. “We’ve been working on finding new places.”

The court is too small for its current needs and the police department is outgrowing its module on Highway 305.

“We were kind of entertaining ideas,” Forsman explained about the original plans. “One was to estimate the cost of adapting the old grocery store — we were kind of looking at what kind of uses we could adapt that to.”

The tribe will be researching other programs that are more compatible with young children and could be safely located next to the learning center, he said.

Cook said was happy to hear of the decision.

“I’m glad,” she said. “I think with the children there, I think it’s the wrong place for it to be.”

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