Southern Ute Tribal Seal

History of the Southern Ute Police Department

The Southern Ute Police Department started in the 1950’s with training provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Offices were housed in the Moache Capote Building and it 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, feed and take care of the prisoners.

SUPD Patrol

Pictured above from Left to Right: Frank Pena, David Bland, William Thompson, Anthony Burch, Erwin Red, Art Weaver standing in front of a 1964 Chevrolet 4WD Panel Truck.

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 3AM, 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.