APD begins expanded Seward Highway patrols Sunday
Expect to see a greater Anchorage Police Department presence on the Seward Highway starting next week, as state funding for additional officers comes into play.
Two additional officers will be placed on the highway beginning Sunday, police spokeswoman Nora Morse said in a Thursday statement.
“I am pleased that we have found a temporary solution to promoting public safety in this corridor of Anchorage,” APD Chief Justin Doll said in the statement. “We look forward to having a visible presence on the highway.”
The added officers are the latest development in the saga of law-enforcement jurisdiction over the Seward Highway between Anchorage and Girdwood, which began with Alaska State Troopers’ closure of the Girdwood trooper post due to budget cuts. Girdwood residents, concerned about who would patrol that stretch of the highway, temporarily contracted with Whittier police last year to do the job.
Morse said the officers are being funded by a one-time, $200,000 grant approved by state lawmakers.
“The Legislature put forward the grant in their budget and we had to wait for the money to come through,” Morse said.
Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said Thursday afternoon that there would be "no immediate change" to Alaska Bureau of Highway Patrol operations along the Seward due to the Anchorage police presence.
"As APD begin its regular patrols of the Seward [Highway] along Turnagain Arm, we will continue to work with them to ensure coverage," Peters wrote in an email.
Morse said the officers’ new patrol boundary, the “Welcome to the Kenai Peninsula” sign at Mile 75, marks the Municipality of Anchorage’s southern edge. APD’s jurisdiction on the highway had previously given way to trooper coverage south of Potter Marsh, but a new Turnagain Arm Patrol Service Area formed in April’s city elections provided a tax base for expanded coverage.
No end date for the initial patrols was yet planned, Morse said, despite the one-time Legislature grant.
“We’re going to use the funds that we have and then go from there,” Morse said.
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