Extra enforcement comes in response to driver behavior shifting with the seasons, police say.ANCHORAGE –
Alaska drivers can now expect to see more Anchorage Police Department cruisers along the Glenn Highway, ready and watching for any unsafe behavior.
The department says this increased enforcement is necessary because the change in seasons usually leads to a change in driver behavior. APD spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said once the snow melts, drivers usually feel the roads are safer and end up driving faster because of it.
Castro said drivers are taking fewer precautions now than they would in winter months, when they might have left for a destination early enough to take their time in getting there, or followed other vehicles at a safe distance.
“What we’re doing is just adding additional enforcement on the Glenn in the morning to respond to all of the additional REDDI calls we get in the morning during that commute,” Castro said. “But also to be able to set the tone and let drivers know that we want everyone to make it to their destination safely.”
APD just welcomed 16 police academy graduates to the department, but Castro said it’s still way below the number of officers it needs out on the streets.
The department saw dozens of officers retire this year while only 16 were added to the force, yet Castro said they’ve managed to work out a way to increase patrols with the number of officers they have available.
“Basically, what we’re doing is reallocating some officer assignments,” Castro said. “Officers who are around town and don’t have much going on, we’re able to pull them into that area of town to do some additional enforcements, is how we’re working it.”
According to APD, the soonest citizens can expect to see a fully staffed department out on Anchorage streets will be the summer of 2015.
Castro said APD expects about 25 officers to join them from the police academy next March and more officers from a smaller academy in the fall of 2015.
In the meantime, Castro said it’s all about working smarter.
APD plans to have between three and six patrols out every weekday during the morning commute along the Glenn Highway, for as long as it says is necessary.