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 pm.

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 pm 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 19th, 2020.

Officer Cortez had served with the Tulalip Tribal Police Department for three years.


  • Age 29
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Drowned
  • Location Washington

marine patrol

Most Recent Reflection

View all 93 Reflections

While working a detail on March 26, 2022, we were approached by a young girl. She handed us a sticker which was end of watch for Cortez 767. It was moving, in that moment this child and team Cortez wanted everyone to never forget him! Always hold those special thoughts and memories in your heart!

Trooper Chris Cooper
Washington State Patrol

March 28, 2022

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