State sets aside $200K for APD to help with Seward Highway patrol
The Anchorage Police Department is getting $200,000 from the state to help with patrolling efforts along the Seward Highway between Anchorage and Indian.
The capital budget sets aside the funding with the language, "It is the intent of the legislature that the Municipality of Anchorage coordinate with the Department of Public Safety to patrol the Seward Highway."
"The $200,000 highlights that we have to have more of a partnership with the state in terms of resolving the long-term answer to Seward Highway Patrol," Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said.
Berkowitz said the money is helpful in order to continue the conversation on how to better patrol the Seward Highway, but the police department still faces ongoing limitations.
"Anchorage police officers cannot on a regular basis patrol areas that aren't helping fund the Anchorage Police Department," Berkowitz said.
Megan Peters, a spokesperson for Alaska State Troopers said the Seward Highway south of Anchorage, within the municipality, has shared enforcement efforts. The three troopers who work this stretch of the highway, when on duty, will conduct traffic enforcement and respond to crashes.
"AST works with all of our law enforcement partners to appropriately handle calls for service whether we are the lead agency or operating in a support capacity," Peters said in an email.
Ken McCoy, deputy chief of operations with the Anchorage Police Department, said $200,000 is a significant amount of funding. The department hasn't received the money yet, but is working on a plan to how to best spend the funding.
"It equates to about 1500 hours so we'll be able to deploy officers and have some highway coverage," he said. "Again, we're evaluating the best times to do that."
McCoy said it's a chance to work with other law enforcement to keep the public safe.
"In the past, we've deployed over different holidays and over major events that are planned," he said.