A leader in the Spokane Tribe has been hired by Washington State Patrol as its first Eastern Washington tribal liaison, one of two positions created to help address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Dawn M. Pullin will begin in her new role as Eastern Washington tribal liaison for the state patrol on Tuesday, according to a news release.
She has worked for a variety of tribal organizations, from the Indian Health Service as a contracting officer to chief executive officer for Spokane Tribal Enterprises. Pullin was also director of the Spokane Tribe’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Altogether she’s worked in tribal organizations for more than 20 years, according to State Patrol.
“I am looking forward to connecting and collaborating with tribal communities in Eastern Washington to address the alarming statistics of violent crimes experienced by our Native women,” Pullin said in a news release.
“I share my hope with all that the position has the potential to build bridges between jurisdictions, close communication gaps and offer solutions to data sharing challenges.”
Pullin joins Patti Gosch, a 21-year veteran of law enforcement and tribal advocacy, on the State Patrol’s government and media relations team. With Pullin’s hiring, Gosch will focus on tribal concerns in Western Washington.
The positions were established by 2019 legislation led by state Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale. Their responsibilities include developing best practices for law enforcement response to missing person reports for Indigenous people. They work with family members when missing person reports are filed and provide guidance on the inclusion of tribal issues in the development of agency plans, programs and policies.
Advocates for missing and murdered Indigenous people and their families have been watching the hiring process. It’s unknown exactly how many Indigenous people have gone missing, have been murdered and have died mysteriously on and around the 1.3-million-acre Yakama Reservation over decades.
Pullin grew up in Eastern Washington. She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Eastern Washington University in 2003 and completed her master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix in 2006.
State Patrol Chief John Batiste was “thrilled” to welcome Pullin to the team, he said in the release.
“This work will help us continue to bridge gaps that have existed between law enforcement and previously underrepresented communities and we appreciate the leadership from the Legislature and governor in securing the resources necessary to make this vital work possible,” Batiste said.