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California Briefing / RIVERSIDE COUNTY

Tribal liaison officer is named

June 24, 2008|David Kelly

Responding to recent violence on the Soboba Indian reservation, Sheriff Stanley Sniff appointed a retired police officer Monday to act as liaison between law enforcement and the county's tribal governments.

Alexandro Tortes, 58, a member of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla tribe and a 33-year veteran of the Riverside Police Department, will serve until a full-time deputy is selected.

Three Soboba tribal members were killed in gunfights with deputies in May, and three others have been involved in shootings with authorities since December. Tribe members have been meeting with representatives of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Sheriff's Department to try to improve communication with law enforcement agencies.

Sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said the tribal liaison will supplement the efforts of deputies from regional stations who patrol the county's reservations. The department had another liaison with the tribes from 1990 to 1993.

Tortes, who was born on the Soboba reservation, retired from the Police Department in 2006.

He later was Eastside Community Services supervisor, with the job of creating partnerships between the city of Riverside and residents and improving the quality of life for citizens.

-- David Kelly

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