Girdwood considers Trooper offer

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Girdwood’s board of supervisors has been offered another option for law enforcement in the Anchorage suburb. Residents of the community voted last month to pay extra property taxes for police protection, because state budget cuts are forcing the Alaska State Trooper post in Girdwood to shut down on July 1.

The board of supervisors has explored a plan to use officers from nearby Whittier to patrol Girdwood, although no firm agreement is in place yet. Now Troopers have offered to continue to man the Girdwood post for $600,000 a year.

Sam Daniel, who chairs the board of supervisor’s public safety committee, says Trooper Captain Jim Cockrell and he discussed the Trooper option earlier this week.

“They believe that it would be possible to continue to offer public safety services in Girdwood through the Alaska State Troopers on a three year grant basis, and that would include having a sergeant and two officers still based out of the Girdwood post, and the Troopers would pay to keep the post open. They would still be focused on highway traffic enforcement, but would respond inside Girdwood Valley and provide random patrols.”

The Trooper offer includes coverage of Bird, Rainbow, Indian and Portage Valleys. The legislature and the governor would have to agree to the plan.

But at a public meeting on Thursday, some Girdwood residents complained about the Trooper proposal, Daniel says.

“The meeting last night, there was a very strong concern among the community that we would be paying for what had previously been a statewide service. That we would in essence be subsidizing the state of Alaska and the residents of Southcentral that travel the safety corridor ”

Daniel says the Whittier option still on the table has a cost of $610, 000, but his committee would like to see that and the Trooper number reduced. His committee is planning to send out a request for proposals to any entity that has expressed an interest in providing law enforcement for Girdwood.

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APTI Reporter-Producer Ellen Lockyer started her radio career in the late 1980s, after a stint at bush Alaska weekly newspapers, the Copper Valley Views and the Cordova Times. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Valdez Public Radio station KCHU needed a reporter, and Ellen picked up the microphone. Since then, she has literally traveled the length of the state, from Attu to Eagle and from Barrow to Juneau, covering Alaska stories on the ground for the AK show, Alaska News Nightly, the Alaska Morning News and for Anchorage public radio station, KSKA elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen

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