Anchorage police announced a restructuring of units to deal with a recent increase in local crimes, intended to make more investigative resources available to officers in the field.

The changes were announced by APD Chief Justin Doll at a news conference Tuesday morning. They come after reports from the state Department of Public Safety and the FBI that rates of various crimes in Alaska, including rape and robbery, are up despite declining national trends.

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APD’s vice unit will be shifted from the department’s Detective Division to its Crime Suppression Division, placing it under the same chain of command as the Community Action Policing team to streamline drug investigations. The suppression division will also receive a dedicated APD detective, who will act as a liaison with the Alaska Information Analysis Center to better examine crime data.

“This detective has been there for a while,” Doll said. “It’s a partnership that we have for sharing information with other state and local agencies. That detective is going to be reassigned to also report to the Crime Suppression Division commander.”

Police will also form an Investigative Support Unit, including eight officers and a sergeant, who will not have specific case assignments. According to an APD statement, those officers will help detectives “serve search warrants, run surveillance, find witnesses, conduct long-term investigations, provide targeted high-intensity patrol enforcement, or react to major incidents.”

“This is designed to kind of streamline the chain of command,” Doll said. “Our intent is that intelligence sharing with our law enforcement partners will help APD determine trends and hot spots, and basically better be able to connect suspects to crimes.”

Anchorage Assembly members also attended the announcement. Assemblymen John Weddleton told KTVA he's in favor of the new initiative, but also says the Police can't-do it alone. The community has to do its part when it comes to helping fight crime.

"Do file those police reports when there's a crime. Let them know so they know where the hot spots are because this is focusing on the hot spots," said Weddleton.

Assemblyman Felix Rivera agrees.

"The businesses have done really good with that, and different neighborhoods have done really good with neighborhood watches so we hope everyone will come together," said Rivera referring to some of the successful ways crimes have been fought in the city.

The Anchorage Assembly is hosting a public safety meeting Wednesday morning beginning at 11 in room 155 at City Hall. Another public hearing on crime is scheduled for this Saturday starting at 9 a.m. It will be at the Loussac Library, and the public is urged to attend both hearings for more about the new initiative.

Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll visited KTVA Tuesday to talk about the changes in the Police Department.

 Patrick Moussignac contributed information to this story.

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