Trooper Shortage Around State Affects Kodiak

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Maggie Wall/KMXT

A state-wide trooper shortage means that Kodiak Island with be without two of its five street officers for several months. One Alaska State Trooper position is empty now and the second one will go vacant the first week of August.

KMXT’s Maggie Wall has more.

(Trooper Shortage 3:35 "The Kodiak area…list of priorities.")

The Kodiak area is currently down by one "blue shirt" Alaska State Trooper-those are the ones that most people think of as troopers-the ones with the blue shirts that respond to police-type activity. As opposed to the "brown shirt" troopers who work for the Division of Alaska Wildlife Troopers.

The second blue shirt position opens in August when another officer departs.

Out of a staff of five officers, that essentially cuts in half the number of troopers on the street in the Kodiak area.

Captain Barry Wilson is the relatively new commander of trooper "C" Detachment, which covers the western part of the state, including Kodiak. He was in town last week and attended the City of Kodiak and Kodiak Island Borough joint city council and assembly work session to introduce himself to local lawmakers.

While it’s not certain how long it will take to permanently fill the two slots, Wilson said there will be a temporary trooper assigned to Kodiak during the month of August:

-((Trooper Shortage :26 "Like I said…in the area."))

The extra person will help pick up the slack in August, but then what?

-((Trooper Shortage ::26 "Right now…positions backfilled.))

Wilson said that he will do what’s possible to balance the needs of the community and to support the remaining troopers who will be carrying the extra load.

As for those of us who live here-especially in Monashka, Bells Flats and out the road-Wilson says the troopers will respond, but it’s a matter of priorities:

-((Trooper Shortage :37 "First of all…responses."))

The reference to barking dogs deals with the discussion at the joint work session about how the city and borough will handle the elimination of animal control services outside city limits.

In answer to a question about the troopers’ position on animal complaints, Wilson said imminently dangerous animals posing a life threatening situation warrants one type of response, while a barking dog or a neighbor complaining about someone’s pet is low on the list of priorities.

I’m Maggie Wall.

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