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SRPD History

At the establishment of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC), law enforcement was under the authority of the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). In later years, law enforcement was under the direction of the BIA Area Agency Criminal Investigator.

In 1963, the SRPMIC Council appointed the BIA Criminal Investigator as Tribal Police Commissioner. The duties of the Tribal Police Commissioner were to assist in organizing a Tribal Police Force to include training and administration.

In 1967, the SRPMIC assumed full control of the law and order program. The BIA Law Enforcement Officer positions were abolished and the Tribal Police Department was first established. The first SRPD Police Chief was Burnett "Buddy" Gates. The first SRPD shoulder patch was designed by Officer Harrison W. Rhoades.

Starting in 1972, all Salt River Police Officers attended a state police academy and upon graduation were state certified peace officers.

In 1975, the Salt River Tribal Police Department was responsible for both police operations and jail operations.

In 1992, the Salt River Tribal Police Department began training their detectives to become certified through the BIA with a Deputy Special Officer (DSO) Commission to investigate and submit federal cases directly with the United States Attorney's Office (USAO).

In 1994, the Salt River Tribal Police Department's Officers were submitting federal cases directly to the United States Attorney's Office(USAO)without any BIA or FBI assistance. All SRPD Police Officers since 1994 are Tribal, State and Federal Sworn Police Officers who exclusively investigate and submit cases to Tribal, State and Federal Prosecutors. SLEC Certification.

Established in 1994, the Salt River Police Department was the first in Indian Country Law Enforcement to begin a Crime Stoppers Program.

Established in 1995, the Salt River Police Department was the first in Indian Country Law Enforcement to begin a Police Explorer Post.

Established in 1996, the Salt River Police Department was the first in Indian Country Law Enforcement to begin a Special Operations Unit (Tactical Team).

In 1999, Salt River Department of Public Safety changed names to the Salt River Police Department (SRPD).

February 16, 2000, the SRPMIC Council established the Salt River Department of Corrections (SRDOC) which was empowered with the full authority and responsibilities of operating the community jail operations.

Established in 2001, the Salt River Police Department was the first in Indian Country Law Enforcement to begin a SMART Moves program in conjunction with the "Boys and Girls Club."

August 1 2001, our Police and Fire Communications Center moved into our permanent facility located at Saddleback Communications on McKellips with state-of-the-art communications equipment and technology.

February 25, 2003, the Dedication of the new Salt River Police and Fire Lehi District Station Building occurred.

Established in 2004, the Salt River Police Department was the first in Indian Country Law Enforcement to begin an Intelligence Unit.

December 2, 2006, the Dedication of the new Salt River Police and Fire Indian Bend District Station Building occurred.

November 4, 2008, SRPD became full member partners in the East Valley Gang and Criminal Information Fusion Center. First Fusion Center in USA to have Tribal representation.

August 04, 2009, the Dedication of the new Salt River Police and Fire Indian School Road District Station Building occurred.

April 11, 2011, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick opened for Spring Training 2011 MLB season. This was the first MLB stadium built within Indian Country jurisdiction and the SRPD since then has provided SRPD staffing for safety and security.

October 01, 2012, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) the SRPD was recognized with the IACP Webber Seavey Award For Quality in Law Enforcement, for our SRPD "Operation Safe Roads Project."

August 18, 2014, SRPD launched our new Public Safety Radio Communications Project consisting of State-of-the-art new Radio Communications System comprised of five (05) new towers / antenna sites, 340 new portables and mobile radios, multiple IGA's for full multi-agency interoperability and our new Communications Center. Our new Communications System and new Communications Center has absolutely improved our service, operations and response to Calls For Service and enhanced Police Officer, Firefighter and our Community's safety.

March 25, 2017, Phoenix Rising Soccer Club, United Soccer League (USL) opened for the 2017 USL Soccer Season. This was the first USL stadium built within Indian Country jurisdiction and the SRPD since then has provided SRPD staffing for safety and security.

On May 8, 2017, SRPD launched our SRPD Reserve Police Officer Program.

On June 18, 2017, SRPD launched new SRPD Chaplaincy Program.

Salt River Chiefs of Police

1967 to 1970Burnett "Buddy" Gates
1970 to 1972Elsworth Ray
1972 to 1972Ben Wood
1972 to 1974Wolfram Ott
1974 to 1979Ronald Thomas
1979 to 1996Edward Reina Jr.
1996 to 2004Gary D. Tahmahkera
2004 to 2006Karl G. Auerbach (Acting)
2006 to 2011Stanley L. Kephart
2011 to 2011Karl G. Auerbach (Acting)
2011 to 2016Patrick R. Melvin
2016 to presentKarl G. Auerbach