Public safety commissioner quits

Posted: Thursday, August 10, 2000

JUNEAU (AP) -- Commissioner of Public Safety Ron Otte announced his resignation Wednesday, saying he wanted to be closer to his family in Anchorage.

Otte, 57, was the state's top law enforcement officer for 6 years. He was Gov. Tony Knowles first cabinet official, appointed less than a week after Knowles won the 1994 election.

''For some time, I have struggled to balance my commitment to the job of commissioner, which I dearly love, and my family,'' Otte said. Natural Resources Commissioner John Shively cited similar reasons when he announced his resignation last month.

Most cabinet commissioners live in Juneau, but several also maintain homes in the state's largest city and fly back and forth frequently.

The resignation takes effect at the end of the month. Knowles hopes to name a successor before then, said Bob King, the governor's press secretary.

Otte was an advocate for Knowles' child protection programs, often appearing in tandem with Health and Social Services Commissioner Karen Perdue. He argued before the Legislature for more money to battle child abuse and neglect as a way to deter criminal activity later.

''Ron Otte has served Alaska for six years with honor and distinction, taking the lead on some of our most challenging issues such as child protection, domestic violence, and drunk drivers,'' Knowles said. ''His command of the Alaska State Troopers and Fish and Wildlife Protection was rock solid and professional.''

Otte joined the Anchorage Police Department as a patrolman in 1965 and rose to become chief when Knowles was mayor. He later served as chief of the Palmer Police Department before moving to the commissioner's job.

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