The new boss at APD is a familiar face with a lot of work ahead
The Anchorage Police Department got a new boss Friday - Chief Justin Doll. Doll started with the department in 1996 and since then has moved up the ranks.
Here's what's he's done at APD over the years: patrol officer, field training officer, academy instructor, motorcycle officer, traffic unit supervisor, SWAT team member, bomb technician, patrol shift commander, and commander of the homicide and robbery/assault detective units.
Doll is also married to Monique Doll, a homicide detective with the Anchorage Police Department who worked on serial killer Israel Keyes' case.
Doll has a lot of work ahead of him. In 2016, 34 people were killed by homicide in Anchorage. This year the city has more homicides, at this time of the year, than last year.
Many have pointed to low numbers of police officers, and an increase in opioid abuse, as the reason why the city seems more violence than before.
"We're making sure the department is continuing to grow with Anchorage," Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said, "like the rest of the state, and the rest of the country, we're facing an opioid epidemic that's problematic. There are increasing rates of violence across the country. We're doing what we can to reduce the rates of violence to take care of some of the underlying drug issues that effect our community that lead to some of the crime that exists and I would just like to reassure the community that we're doing everything we can, not just with APD, but working in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies to make this a safer healthier community."
Doll says he'd like officers to be able to do more community policing and to talk with people before crimes happen.
"I would love to see officers just have time to stop and talk to people living in the neighborhoods, find out what's going on, hear their concerns and be able to have time to address their concerns so every contact an officer has with a resident isn't as a result of a call for service," Doll said.
APD had lower staffing numbers under the Sullivan administration. During that time there were also grumblings about low morale. Under the Berkowitz administration the numbers have started to go back up. Most recently 29 men and women received badges and were sworn in as APD officers at a ceremony on June 1. The graduation of this class brings the total number of APD officers to 397.
"We really want to focus for a while on deploying all the resources we've been given over the last 2-years," Doll said, "you know I think its pretty common knowledge at this point the department has been kind of been rebuilding and so now we want to have a discussion about what does that look like how do we deploy those resources."
Doll replaces Chief Chris Tolley, 59, who leaves the department after just a year and a half after he was sworn in as chief, although Tolley said that he took the job knowing he expected to retire.
Doll says he plans to have APD work with multiple law enforcement partners, including the federal government, to deter crime.
"We really want to continue working with them," Doll said, "I think that now that we have more resources to bring to the table we can look at what does that structure look like, what can we do that everybody can bring their best asset to the table and really have an effect on violent street crime."