Report says APD needs improvement

Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) Mayor Mark Begich's transition team has released its report on the status of the Anchorage Police Department, and a few problems turned up.

The report cites low morale, understaffing, excessive overtime, not enough diversity, and the list goes on.

The team also said another major concern was the underfunding of the Police and Fire Retirement System, which could lead to an exodus of experienced officers from an already strapped force.

The report said the 911 system needs work. It said the police department doesn't do enough proactive policing, such as problem solving and crime prevention, and its recruiting could use serious improvements.

It said there's a lack of communication between senior staff and the rank and file.

Begich said in a press conference Tuesday that he had briefly reviewed the report and that APD was one of the departments that gave him the most concern. Acting Police Chief Walt Monegan said he too had concerns, but his view of the department was considerably less dire than the transition report's.

Monegan said he planned to discuss the findings in a captain's meeting Wednesday to see if there are things that can be addressed quickly. Work is already being done on some of the larger issues, he said.

The review of the Police Department was just one part of an overall look at the state of the city by Begich's transition team, a panel of community volunteers. The findings were based on public testimony, interviews with Police Department employees and stakeholders, and presentations by top police officials.

Begich and Monegan said they plan to meet next week to discuss the transition report after they've both had a chance to digest it.

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