Search is on for viable options for safety of Nikiski community

Posted: Thursday, February 12, 2004

I attended the meeting Feb. 4 at Nikiski Senior Center, in which residents expressed outrage and anger at the lack of response by Alaska State Troopers for the rash of recent burglaries. Having been burglarized three times over the last six years has left us guarded and untrusting. Listening to other people's anger only made my anger resurface again.

Six troopers for the entire peninsula is simply inadequate. Their response to my situation was delayed and not on the list of priorities they had to deal with, even though it was at the top of my list. After our experience, I hoped to empower myself, my family and my community by establishing alternatives. I researched the feasibility of a community watch program and the "special officers" reserve and that could be enacted by the commissioner to assist with law enforcement. Presented at the Nikiski Community Council, it was dropped for lack of interest.

Two years later our community has not only grown in size, but also in the amount of crime that is committed. More people are being violated because the predators know they can get away with it. Last week's meeting only left questions with no answers. However, my anger again generated a feeling that something must be done. Given that we will be told there is no funding available, I considered alternatives. Consequently, I wrote a letter to Commissioner of Public Safety Bill Tandeske requesting he look into establishing a "special officers" reserve should the sub-station be installed. I also requested he look into funding for Homeland Security grants and establish a volunteer community liaison an individual victims could talk to. This advocate could notify the victim(s) of their case number, investigating officer and tell them what they should do and what they can expect to happen. This might help quell the community's issue with the troopers' lack of response.

Additionally, I noted I would ask Kenai Peninsula Borough assembly member Gary Superman to look into the feasibility of a special service area board to help with a community watch/law enforcement program. This letter was copied and sent to Gov. Frank Murkowski, Rep. Mike Chenault and Sen. Tom Wagoner.

Safety should never be compromised and it may well mean we will have to pay for it. It is up to us to create a safe community. However, nothing changes if nothing changes.

I invite you to be proactive with solutions for our community. Please attend the Nikiski Community Council meeting March 1 to help find solutions.

Ann Krogseng


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