Alaska State Troopers respond to law enforcement concerns in Aleknagik

Nov 4, 2019

An attempted break in at an Aleknagik residence mid-October raised concerns about a lack of law enforcement in the community. Now, the Alaska State Troopers have responded to those concerns.

Alaska State Trooper and Alaska Wildlife Trooper office in Dillingham, Nov. 4, 2019.
Credit Isabelle Ross/KDLG

When a man climbed a ladder towards Apay’u Moore’s kitchen window in the middle of the night, Moore called 911. But no state troopers were available to respond at the time, and they didn’t arrive on the scene until 8:00 a.m. that morning. That slow response time disturbed Moore. 

But Alaska State Trooper Public Information Officer Megan Peters said in an email that the troopers’ response time was appropriate; the suspect had left the scene and no one was in immediate danger. Peters pointed out that law enforcement is spread thin across remote communities, and that due to a lack of resources, troopers are stationed in hub communities.

“They respond to villages as quickly as they can depending on the severity and ongoing nature of the crime. In this case, the suspect fled the scene," she said. 

Aleknagik has no Village Public Safety Officer and is outside of Dillingham police jurisdiction. Troopers told Moore that residents have to rely on fellow community members in emergencies.  

“It is impossible to get to some locations during the night and some locations are difficult to get to quickly in the best of circumstances during the day," said Peters, reiterating that advice. "Troopers encourage individuals to be as self-sufficient as possible and for community members to help each other in times of need.” 

To address public safety concerns, Peters suggests that Aleknagik take steps to employ a local law enforcement officer.

Still, recruiting for those positions is difficult. The only VPSOs in Bristol Bay are in Koliganek, Togiak and Pilot Point. The Bristol Bay Native Association has been advertising the Aleknagik position but so far, no one has applied. Residents can apply to the VPSO position through BBNA. The city is also exploring Village Police Officer programs.

Contact the author at tyler@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200