APD talks crime suppression focus at public safety briefing
Under new leadership, a new approach with staffing to focus on crime suppression is underway at the Anchorage Police Department.
In October, APD will see about 25 officers end their training cycle and hit the streets solo.
That was much of the focus at a public safety meeting held at city hall Wednesday.
Chief Justin Doll said it's possible some officers will not just go straight to patrol, but instead also work in specialized units like VICE or CAP — both of which focus on getting drugs off the streets.
"They're able to go out and assist these other units with man power, but also whenever any detective unit has come to the conclusion of a case and now we have a suspect where you've seen the Nixle, we have a group of people out hunting for that person," Chief Doll said.
The Chief says the officers working with more flexibility wouldn't necessarily be tied to the priority calls, and this could help with officer visibility.
Something many Anchorage residents have expressed concerns over.
"We want to have a group like the community policing team and then at some point, allocate a few more officers to be a more high visibility type patrol group that is not tied to the call stack, they're not tied to a part of town, but they're able to go out and assist these other units with man power," Chief Doll said.
Both APD and assembly members admitted some Anchorage residents say they don't call to report suspicious activity because they don't think they'll get a response.
Acting Deputy Chief, Sean Case says not calling could impact the way resources are divided through the city.
"We may see there's not a lot of calls for service for that area so we're not going to put a bunch of our resources in these areas where we're sort of getting these one off complaints, if the data doesn't show that. We're always encouraging call in, even if you think we're not going to show," Case said.
Since March, APD reported its seen success with drug related traffic stops and even more in-depth drug investigations, which included seizing 2 kilos of heroin.
Also mentioned during the Wednesday meeting, due to the number of police academies held in the late 1990's, next year will be the first time APD has had more than 20 percent of it's sworn officers on the force for 25 years or more.
Case said 100 officers will be eligible to retire with 20 years of expierience in 2018.