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Two top officers have 70 years in


Grand Coulee police Chief Mel Hunt, right, and Sgt. John Tufts have nearly 70 years of combined service to the city. Hunt plans to step down, just short of 40 years of service here, on Oct. 1. Tufts has been in the department since 1984. - Roger S. Lucas photo

Grand Coulee police Chief Mel Hunt and Sgt. John Tufts have about 70 years of combined service to the area.

That's about to change, with Hunt ending 39 years of service to the Grand Coulee area beginning in 1975 as a reserve office and ending Oct. 1, 2014, as police chief for the past 35 years.

Sgt. Tufts started with the Grand Coulee police department in 1984, after spending two years as an Okanogan County deputy sheriff. He has been sergeant since 2002.

Tufts said Monday that he plans to apply for the chief position when the city's Civil Service Commission advertises the vacancy.

Hunt was born and raised in Oklahoma and moved with his family to Colorado before his father, Lester Hunt, took a position with the Bureau of Reclamation here.

Hunt finished his sophomore, junior and senior classes in Grand Coulee High School, where he played football and baseball.

Later, he graduated from the University of Idaho where he had companion degrees in biology and wildlife.

Hunt has two sons, Adam, who is a deputy with Grant County Sheriff's Office, and Ryan, a major in the Army. Both are graduates of Lake Roosevelt High School.

Hunt says the biggest change in his law enforcement career has been the increase in the number of domestic violence calls, drugs and how police need to be more precise when seeking a search warrant. He said that laws change sometimes monthly, and police have to keep up with the changes. Hunt has served under six mayors, one of them, Bob Seiler, twice.

Tufts was raised in Bremerton, where he went to school. He started a career with the old SeaFirst National Bank and then moved into police work where he was a reserve officer with Kitsap County before accepting the Okanogan County position.

While at Bremerton High School, Tufts was active in football and tennis.

Tufts said the biggest change during his law enforcement career is that neighbors don't talk with each other now, but call the police.

Tufts son Alexander, an electrician, recently moved here from Alaska. His wife Jessica will begin teaching in the local school district this fall.

His daughter, Erin, lives in Rathdrum, Idaho, and is in the physical therapy field. Both children are graduates of Lake Roosevelt High School, as is Tuft's daughter-in-law, Jessica.

Tuft will be acting chief upon Hunt's retirement until a new chief is hired through the Civil Service Commission.

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