Crime & Courts

Unalaska's popular police blotter falls victim to staffing shortages

The highly popular police log published by the Unalaska Department of Public Safety won't be appearing anymore in The Bristol Bay Times-Dutch Harbor Fisherman, or anywhere else. At least not until the shorthanded local police department hires more cops, says Deputy Police Chief Jennifer Shockley.

"Right now, we don't have the time to keep up with it," Shockley said. "At this point in time we need to focus on law enforcement."

[Alaska's most entertaining police blotter]

The weekly account of local police and fire department activity takes between eight and 10 hours to write, review and publish, she said. With full staffing, that's not a problem, but now the police department is operating with 65 percent of positions filled, she said.

At full staffing, there is one deputy police chief, three sergeants and nine officers. Presently, there's Shockley, the deputy chief and three sergeants, but just four regular police officers — plus one who can't work yet solo because he is still in training.

Unalaska police are now actively recruiting in hopes of finding good candidates to work in law enforcement in the Aleutian Islands community. When more officers are hired and the department is at full strength, the police log may return, she said.

The police log attracted national attention, especially following a Los Angeles Times article by Kim Murphy, featuring Shockley, who wrote the weekly update when she was a police sergeant, frequently poking fun at drunken misbehavior in the nation's busiest fishing port of Unalaska/Dutch Harbor.

This article was originally published in The Bristol Bay Times-Dutch Harbor Fisherman and is reprinted here with permission.