Village police department closes due to 'unanticipated departure' of staff

Kyle Hopkins

The police department in the remote Pribilof Islands village of Saint Paul unexpectedly and mysteriously closed this week, with Alaska State Troopers now fielding 911 calls in the community.

The city announced the temporary closure on the Saint Paul Department of Public Safety Facebook page on Tuesday morning, citing "unanticipated staff departures." City manager Linda Snow said she was busy and could not comment on the closure Wednesday.

Troopers learned of the closure on Sunday, when the city asked troopers to start fielding 911 calls in the village, said spokeswoman Megan Peters. Troopers had received only four emergency calls as of Wednesday, she said. None required a trooper to travel to the community.

No lives were in danger, Peters said.

Peters said she did not know why the St. Paul authorities asked for the assistance. The city has not said what led to the unexpected departures by police department employees. Residents say villagers had planned to protest the behavior of a police department employee or employees at a Wednesday city meeting, but that meeting was later canceled.

The St. Paul Tribal Enforcement Department told residents on its own Facebook page Wednesday that people who need help in cases of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse can call a victim advocate working through the tribal government at 546-4189.

"Many of you are asking questions and expressing concerns about the current status of the Department of Public Safety. We at the Tribal Government share your questions and concerns and do not know anything more than all of you," the tribe wrote.

A spokesman for the tribe, the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

St. Paul is a village of about 480 people on St. Paul Island, about 300 miles west of the Alaska mainland and 750 miles west of Anchorage.


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