Retired police chief Goss back to lead Tulalip force

TULALIP — The man who retired two years ago from his post as chief at the Tulalip Tribes Police Department has been rehired.

Jay Goss, who was the tribal police chief between 2001 and 2007, is expected to resume those duties Sept. 1.

“Chief Goss left our department under really good terms,” Tulalip Tribes Chairman Mel Sheldon said. “We called him up, and he said he could come back and make a commitment.”

Goss signed a three-year contract with the tribal government, Sheldon said.

Goss replaces Scott Smith, a former Mountlake Terrace police chief who served at the Tulalip Police Department for more than a year. The tribal board removed Smith from his position last month. Smith wasn’t the right fit, board members said then. No other details were released.

Smith worked closely with Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick to cross-commission tribal police officers, giving them authority to arrest non-Indians on the reservation. Lovick said he doesn’t expect that Smith’s departure and Goss’ return will change the cross-commission authority of the tribal officers.

The cross-commission followed legislation that allowed tribal police to expand their authority on Indian reservations.

The legislation was sponsored by John McCoy, D-Tulalip. The law requires tribal police officers to be state certified. Tribes also must obtain liability insurance and waive sovereign nation immunity if the police department is sued or an officer is accused of misconduct.

Goss worked closely with McCoy to get that legislation passed. Later, Smith and Lovick made sure tribal officers met all of the same qualifications required for sheriff’s deputies. A sheriff’s lieutenant spent a week reviewing the officers’ backgrounds and training.

Two years ago, Goss said he was retiring to spend more time with his wife and children.

Before joining Tulalip, Goss served for 20 years as a federal agent for the Department of the Interior, was a police academy instructor for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, worked as a detective for the Mercer Island Police Department and served as a military police officer for the U.S. Army, according to a statement released by the Tulalip Tribes. He also worked as a police captain for the Quinault Tribe, and as police chief for the Colville Tribe.

During his time at Tulalip, the police department grew from eight officers to 25. He also created an Explorer Scout program for young people interested in law enforcement.

“In my career I’d never been a part of a police department from scratch,” Goss said at the time of his 2007 retirement. “I wanted to be a part of that and the positive growth in the community in general.”

Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422,

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