During his 42-year professional career, public service has always been the focus for Edward “Ed” Reina.
His commitment to helping others could have been ignited as he was raised in a large family. His dedication to community might have started when as an adolescent he realized all people were not treated fairly.
Furthermore, Reina’s devotion to humanity probably was solidified during his two-year stint in the U.S. Army. Now as the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony’s Tribal Administrator, Reina’s efforts to better serve his community are even more refined.
A member of the Akimel O’Odham and Xalychidom Piipaash or Salt River Pima-Mariopa Tribe located in greater Phoenix, Reina believes that when everyone operates together, a community is better served.
“Everyone is doing great work here (at the RSIC), but our departments are working in silos,” Reina said. “We have a lot of potential to enhance our services by working together.”
Though the majority of Reina’s work history is in law enforcement, he said that his life-long philosophy—team work with a focus on public service—will remain as the tribal administrator.
“I quickly learned that in law enforcement, I could make a difference. “As chief of police, I worked with other agencies, not just locally, but county, state, and even nationally, to enhance services to our communities.”
In his capacity as tribal administrator, Reina looks for his collaborative philosophy to continue.
“When I worked (in law enforcement) I was given a great opportunity to do prevention and intervention rather than incarceration, plus I could work with other service agencies.”
Reina started at the RSIC in July. As tribal administrator, he is responsible for managing and overseeing the operations of 17 RSIC departments and several programs within those divisions.
And this isn’t Reina’s first stop at the Colony. From 1997 to 2000, Reina served as the chief of tribal police for the RSIC.
“I am looking forward to reconnect with this community,” Reina said. “I enjoyed it here.”
However, it was his commitment to his family—now six children, 22 grandchildren and two great grandchildren, which took him back to Scottsdale, Ariz.
“For me, family is a priority,” Reina said. “I had young children and grandchildren and I needed to be home and that is primarily why I left.”
After 16 years, Reina said that not a lot has changed at the RSIC, but he noted the expansion of business development. He added that the remodel of the administrative offices at 34 Reservation Rd., is very impressive.
“It means we can provide even more services and develop a coalition to better serve our community,” Reina said.
Not one to leave projects unfinished, Reina finished his bachelor’s degree online in 2016 after he started with a traditional college education in 1978.
“I hate to leave anything undone,” Reina said.
Of course, his formal college credentials came after his military service. Drafted in 1968 during the Vietnam Conflict, Reina was stationed in Germany, though he never experienced combat.
It was the military where Reina saw that teamwork or a multi-discipline approach is the best method to solve problems, especially when the aim is to serve the public.
“When helping our community, we need to include all our departments, even our faith based organizations, to develop a plan to address the underlining problem, then, hopefully, we will correct it,” Reina said. “For example, if we have a juvenile skipping school, as a coalition we can discuss the case and identify the underlying problem which may be a dysfunctional home environment, then we can effectively address the situation.”
Reina believes that the RSIC’s recently adopted strategic plan will provide excellent guidance.
In addition, he wants to incorporate Native traditions such as an elder group that might work with the tribal court, add a mentoring program for youth, and develop alternatives to incarceration.
“These methods build self-confidence,” Reina said. “My goal has always been to serve, and like all of Indian Country, we are one community, and the role of our positions is public service for our people.”
Editor’s note: Reina operates on an open door policy and invites RSIC Tribal members to visit his office.