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APD prepares for looming staff shortages

By Lauren Maxwell 1:01 AM November 5, 2013

Police plan back-to-back academies as more officers leave the force

ANCHORAGE – The Anchorage Police Department is trying hard to beef up the force, but still expects to lose dozens of officers over the next few months.

A new police academy is underway but there aren’t enough recruits to fill all the vacancies.

With just 16 recruits, the current academy is one of the smallest in years. Police can accommodate 28 people and said they were hoping to fill every seat. Now, even if all of them make it through the five month course, there will still be holes to fill.

In an average year, APD loses about 20 officers. This year, there’s a financial incentive to retire in early January. All together, 40 officers are expected to leave. Accounting for training time, it could be years before the force is back up to speed.

Police Chief Mark Mew says residents shouldn’t worry: Fewer officers will still keep the city safe.

“While I would prefer not to have that situation, I don’t think we need to push the panic button,” Mew said. “We just need to work as hard as we can to replace the vacancies with new blood.”

To that end, there’s another academy planned as soon as this one ends. The department is actively recruiting for that right now.

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