A rise in the number of sworn Anchorage Police officers has let the department expand its staffing in the Eagle River area, even as it assumes patrol duties over part of the Seward Highway. 

“For more than 30 years, three officers have been assigned to Eagle River,” Thim wrote. “(F)or the first time, there will be four officers with the Patrol Division for each shift.” 

While the added officer bolsters APD coverage north of Anchorage, officers are also continuing patrols on the Seward Highway south to the Kenai Peninsula. The expanded patrols, taking over from Alaska State Troopers after the closure of the Girdwood trooper post, were initially funded by a $200,000 grant from the state Legislature. They will now be funded by municipal taxpayers, primarily outside the Anchorage area.

Credit: APD

"In the Anchorage Metro Police Service Area (AMPSA), the police levy will be reduced by $0.21 per $100,000 of assessed home value; homes outside of the AMPSA will see an increase of $11.22 per $100,000 of assessed home value," Thim wrote. "Unspent grant funds will be used for increased patrols during heavy traffic periods, such as the Slush Cup or Memorial Day Weekend."

APD Chief Justin Doll credited the expansion to expanded police academies under Mayor Ethan Berkowitz which have increased the department’s ranks to more than 400 sworn officers. 

“Thanks to the support from the community, the Mayor, and the Assembly, APD is the strongest it’s ever been,” Doll said in Wednesday’s statement. “We would not have been able add an officer in Eagle River and provide fulltime coverage on the Seward Highway without this staffing increase.” 

Doll added that drivers need to remember officers will be patrolling and the rules of the road will be enforced.

“I think you should probably assume that if you are driving badly on the Seward Highway, it's much more likely that you are going to be pulled over now,” he said.

Editor's note: APD has updated its description of the municipal tax burden associated with the Seward Highway patrols.

Lauren Maxwell contributed to this report.

Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved. 


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