Palin picks Kenai police chief, other locals for transition team

Posted: Sunday, December 10, 2006

Gov. Sarah Palin’s transition team that is to head up reviews of various government agencies includes several residents of the Kenai Peninsula.

In the week prior to her taking the oath of office, Palin announced the names of those who will head up various parts of that team.

One of those was Kenai Police Chief Chuck Kopp, who was tapped to the Department of Public Safety team. Reached Friday, Kopp said he was glad to serve the new administration in this capacity, calling the work challenging but fun.

“The Palin administration has asked me, along with a group of seven others, to review the four divisions of the Department of Public Safety,” he said.

The department has 850 employees and a $139 million budget, and includes the Division of the Alaska State Troopers, the Division of Fire Prevention, the Division of Administrative Services, and the Division of Statewide Services, which handles the activities of the Crime Detection Laboratory, Sex Offender Registry, licensing and permitting of handguns and the Alaska Public Safety Information Network, Kopp said.

“We are to review the status of all divisions, their highest priorities, the most important items that the incoming administration needs to be aware of, and prepare recommendations for action items on things that can be done to enhance public safety,” he said.

Currently, the team is conducting interviews with department employees, and next week will interview division directors. The team is also reviewing division transition reports already submitted by division heads.

Kopp said his team is aiming to produce a report to Gov. Palin by Dec. 22.

Kopp has 20 years’ experience in law enforcement, including more than 17 with the Kenai Police Department. He has been chief there since May 2002.

Other peninsula residents are to serve on other teams, but not as leaders, according to an administration spokesperson.

They include Glen Martin, of Soldotna, who will serve on the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities team, Henry Novak, of Kenai, who will serve on the Department of Health and Social Services team, and Dave Feeken, of Kenai, who will serve on the Department of Community & Economic Development team.

Dave Donald, of Kenai, Roland Maw, of Soldotna, and Dave Otness, of Seward, all of whom will serve on the team reviewing the Department of Fish & Game.

Hal Spence can be reached at

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