TONASKET – Jose Perez was sworn in and began to serve as Tonasket’s newest police officer Oct. 3.
Perez comes to Tonasket from Spokane, where he received his basic academy and field training.
“Jose is fluent in Spanish, and we are glad to have him with us,” Chief Darin Odegaard told council members Tuesday.
Perez was drawn to Tonasket for it’s slower pace and because he has friends here. He said he liked the environment and the smaller community to raise his kids in.
Perez joins the force in their new, temporary abode at the Tonasket Visitor and Business Resource Center next to the police station and city hall, where they will remain at least until the removal of lead paint and asbestos is completed at the old police station.
“It’s been a big week for us, and we were glad to have all the help from council members and Darren,” said Odegaard, asking City Superintendent Darren Johnson to stand and be recognized for all the help and heavy lifting. Odegaard said Tonasket’s Choice High students also helped with the move, along with police department staff and “Jason, a gentleman who’s been volunteering for our office.”
Officer John Cruz acknowledged a retired police officer from out of the area as “an asset in handling this transition.”
“We now have a toilet that flushes,” Cruz joked about the temporary move from the old police department building in need of maintenance and repairs.
The city of Tonasket has been fined $11,000 by the department of Labor and Industries for the condition of the police department building.
Odegaard reported himself and both officers on a call earlier that day (Oct. 9) where “Perez and Cruz did a phenomenal job of possibly saving someone’s life,” adding he couldn’t go into details as it involved a juvenile.
Cruz reported having “some good calls and being busy between the school and the hospital.”
This is the first time the police department has had two officers and a chief on board since February 2018, when former Chief Darren Curtis went to work for the Okanogan Sheriff’s Department. Chief Odegaard and officer Cruz were hired in