Letters: APD officers risk lives every day, targets of internal stress too

AnchorageDecember 1, 2013 

Mike Dingman’s rather poignant comment Friday discussed Anchorage Police Department responsibilities and actions quite well; however, there is much more going on behind the scenes not meeting the public eye. 

APD street officers not only risk their lives every day putting up with angry, recalcitrant citizens, they have to deal with internal stresses as well such as management with clueless, Catch-22 attitudes and Internal Affairs always perched on the limb of scrutiny, sometimes criticizing the most petty of incidents.

Officers get it from both directions, the stress of the street and their own kind. Lethal force is understandably investigated and sometimes subsequently restricted because of public pressure, such as in the use of vehicles as weapons recently. 

Do limits need to be set? Of course. Knee-jerk reactions? Yup, sometimes due to political pressure and temptations of power. There’s plenty of precedent for excessive force from law enforcement but, as said before, the pendulum swings both ways. 

It’s not an easy job. How do I know? I have a son in an Outside department, and I’ve been around cops all my life, both as friends and acquaintances. I understand city cops and probably should have been one. I don’t get Troopers.

Does APD cost a lot? Yup. I’m still a fan of AO37 but believe changes should be made. Example: Senior officers hog overtime, inflating their last three years for retirement advantages, grossly increasing salaries and long-term costs. Overtime should be equitably distributed. 

— William Ahrens

Eagle River

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