A system being unveiled this week aims to make Anchorage police more responsive to callers who report incidents, addressing a longstanding complaint from residents.

A Tuesday statement from the department, outlining the planned use of phone calls as well as forms left on callers’ doors, is meant to balance limited police time against the need to inform people about what happened in the wake of calls for service.

“We’ve heard from many of you wondering what the outcome is after you call Dispatch to make a report,” said APD Capt. Julie Shank, head of the department's Patrol Division. “Now, we are making an effort to help close that loop.”

As property crime rates have risen across Alaska, dispatchers have rolled out a 311 number to take non-emergency calls and described some ground rules for what people can expect when they take calls. Police have also asked people to refrain from placing unnecessary 911 calls, including those that came in during the March “bridgepocalypse” diversions after a Glenn Highway overpass in Eagle River was struck by a too-tall semi truck.

Under the new system, officers will initially attempt to call people who ask dispatchers for police contact regarding the outcome of an incident, then visit their homes to follow up as necessary.

“If for some reason the officer is unable to speak with you, they will leave a door hanger on your door knob that contains the case or incident number, call type, date/time of response, and the officer who responded,” police wrote. “The officer will also leave a note stating the outcome of your call.”

An Anchorage police officer holds a doorknob card, to be left at callers' homes if they ask to find out what happened regarding incidents they report. (Credit: From APD)

Tuesday’s statement outlined an attempt to balance limited police time against the need to inform people about what happened in the wake of calls for service.

“This may be difficult in those situations wherein we receive dozens of calls regarding one event – we may not have the resources to contact everyone but we will do our best,” police wrote.

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