Police Officer Charlie Joe Cortez

Police Officer Charlie Joe Cortez

Tulalip Tribal Police Department, Tribal Police

End of Watch Tuesday, November 17, 2020

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Charlie Joe Cortez

Police Officer Charlie Cortez died after the 24-foot fisheries enforcement vessel he was in capsized after being struck by a rogue wave in the Puget Sound, Washington, at about 9:00 p.m.

He and his partner had just escorted a distressed boater into Tulalip Bay when their vessel was struck by the wave and capsized. A search was immediately initiated by tribal, local, state, and federal agencies in the area. Officer Cortez's partner was located in the water suffering from hypothermia near Hat Island at about 11:45 p.m. and rescued by tribal fishermen.

Officer Cortez was not located, and due to cold water temperatures and adverse weather conditions, it was determined that Officer Cortez could not have survived. The search and recovery operation was suspended on November 19, 2020.

Officer Cortez had served with the Tulalip Tribal Police Department for three years. He is survived by his son, daughter, parents, brother, grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins.


  • Age 29
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Drowned
  • Location Washington

marine patrol

Most Recent Reflection

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I was riding my bicycle yesterday on Forest Rd 50 near East Creek and came upon a memorial built for Charlie. I took the time to reflect and have a moment of silence for this fallen brother. It was a beautiful memorial that had been built by his family and friends and it showed how much he was loved and thought of fondly by many. RIP Charlie.

Dave K.

August 31, 2023

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