The Southern Ute Police Department started in the 1950s with training provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Offices were housed in the Moache Capote Building and included housing for the Chief of Police and family. Downstairs had a lockup for the detention of prisoners. With a small number of officers, they had to patrol the entire reservation, dispatch calls to other officers, and feed and take care of the prisoners.
Officers were cross-deputized with the BIA, Tribal, and La Plata County jurisdictions. Officers would be trained at the BIA Academy in Roswell, NM. and Brigham City, UT. Additional training would require traveling to Denver, CO.
Patrols would be conducted until 3 AM, then the jail would be locked up, officers would go home, and the Chief of Police would cover the early morning emergencies from the residence within the police department.
The S.U.P.D. has come a long way since then because of the hard work, sacrifice, and vision of the men and women who have built our department over the years. We strive to be on the cutting edge of Tribal Law Enforcement as we honor those who have gone before us.