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Police cite Olhava sightseeing trips

SUQUAMISH — There’s a big difference in the quality of service from the local law enforcement when the police station is situated in the middle of the community, rather than on the side of the highway.

That’s probably the biggest difference Suquamish Police Chief Mike Lasiner has noticed since his agency moved from the modular building on State Route 305 to the Suquamish Village complex on Suquamish Way two months ago.

“The thing I like the best is we’re much closer to the actual community,” he said, noting they get more walk-ins from residents compared to when they were located on SR 305. “I think they feel more comfortable.”

The agency’s response times to calls have decreased as well, Lasiner said. The department’s coverage area includes 12-square miles, including reservation and non-reservation land. If there is a dispatch in their neck of the woods, they will respond, regardless of whether it is in their jurisdiction or not. If it’s a county matter, SPD officers will remain on the scene until Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office deputies show up. The force also oversees 3,500 square miles of custom and traditional fishing areas, from the Canada border to Tacoma.

The new facilities include offices for Lasiner, and a lieutenant and a probation officer as well as an office shared by two sergeants. There are also separate rooms for evidence, weapons, interviewing suspects, temporarily holding suspects as well as a breath alcohol content testing room that can be used by all area law enforcement agencies. However, where they gained the most dramatic space was the squad room.

In the old building, eight officers shared a 10-foot by 10-foot room, which had just two desks. Now, in a room at least three times the size of the old one, officers have their own workstation and soon will each have their own computers. There is also a new locker room and shower area, neither of which officers had before.

Having the new facilities for the officers is a huge morale boost, Lasiner said.

“It shows a certain degree of respect to give them a place to do their job,” he added.

The other half of the new facility is the Grace Duggan Tribal Justice Center, which was previously located in a modular unit in downtown Suquamish. The new justice center has an office each for the chief judge, associate judge, prosecuting attorney, public defender, spokesperson and two court clerks. There is a brand new court room as well as a conference center that is shared with the police department.

“This is basically casino dollars at work,” Lasiner said of the funding for the building.

The village center will further develop into a second tribal government campus once West Sound Academy moves out of the building across the parking lot and is renovated into offices.

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