Aleknagik break-in illustrates lack of law enforcement in Bristol Bay

Oct 28, 2019

Apay’u Moore was woken up by a loud bang outside her house in Aleknagik. But when Moore dialed 911, she was told the Dillingham police department couldn’t dispatch officers to the lake.

Credit Apay'u Moore

Apay’u Moore was woken up around 1:40 a.m. on Oct. 14 by a loud bang outside her house in Aleknagik. She found a man climbing a ladder towards her kitchen window. She banged on the window, shouting at him to leave, and called 911. But when Moore got through to the operator, she was told the Dillingham police department couldn’t dispatch officers to the lake.

“I was given the trooper number, so I called the trooper and those calls at night are dispatched out to a different community,” Moore said. “So he then tried to get ahold of the on-call trooper in Dillingham who was unfortunately out of town, and he was in King Salmon.”

As Moore juggled calls between the troopers and people who lived close by, she stood at the top of her stairs, pointing a gun down the steps. At one point, she heard glass shattering and started yelling again. The burglar had left by the time a neighbor arrived to help. Moore gathered her things and stayed with a friend for the rest of the night. The ordeal lasted for more than an hour. 

Troopers did not arrive until around 8:00 a.m. that morning. Moore said they told her that people who lived in Aleknagik had to rely on community members for immediate support during crises, since they were closer than law enforcement officials.

“And that’s a frustrating feeling because we’re raised to call 911,” she said. “I’ve taught my children who are five and seven now, ‘What number do you call when there’s an emergency? 911.’ Now I’m having second thoughts because it’s not as easy to call the troopers. But trying to teach our young kids to call 911 and realizing that’s not a real option? It’s frustrating. There’s a whole systematic failure here.”

Moore is still in contact with state troopers and wants them to investigate the break in. She was out of town for a conference after the break-in occurred, but she says troopers did not gather fingerprints from the scene until Saturday, when she returned home. She said she’s worried about the community’s safety and doesn’t want people to go through more incidents like this one.

“I don’t think there’s a lot of law enforcement and community trust. Often times when it is reported, the response time and even follow up with it afterwards takes so long that people just feel like there’s nothing being done,” she said.

Moore is planning to speak about public safety at the next Aleknagik city council meeting. KDLG reached out to the Alaska State Troopers for comment. Public information officer Megan Peters said they are looking into the situation.

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