Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Anchorage Police Department Representative Completes Recruiting Tour Of The Upper Midwest

File this one under "what others are saying about us Alaskans".

On May 27th, 2008, the Fargo (ND) Forum reports that the Anchorage Police Department recently completed a Midwest recruiting tour for officers. The department stopped in Minnesota, South Dakota, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa, and advertised in several cities, including Fargo.

APD Sgt. Mike Couturier said that the strong recruiting push is a necessity for the department. Although APD currently has 396 sworn officers on board, it wants to hire an additional 36 officers. But Sgt. Couturier also said that one of the more difficult challenges in persuading prospective officers to change their address is the battery of preconceived notions about Alaska - such as the idea that Anchorage, with 270,000 residents, is just a small village of igloos.

We’re the myth busters. You gotta get down and you gotta meet people. You can’t just send them e-mails”, Couturier added. APD targets the Midwest in particular for recruits because Midwesterners “all have experienced winters.” And APD does get a considerable number of calls from Midwestern officers, attracted in part by a starting salary of $73,918. In contrast, the starting salary for a Fargo police officer is only $42,700, West Fargo patrol officers start at $37,704 a year, and Moorhead officers receive about $41,000 a year.

Yet local police departments don't look upon APD as "poachers". West Fargo Assistant Chief Mike Reitan notes that similar notices for larger departments can be found in trade publications. In addition, turnover is fairly low in the Moorhead, West Fargo and Fargo police departments. Fargo’s department mainly competes with the Twin Cities area, usually losing officers to agencies there or to federal agencies, Dahle said.

There are 131 sworn officers in Fargo, 53 in Moorhead and 31 in West Fargo.

Commentary: While Anchorage is still a much safer place for a cop than L.A. or Philadelphia (it's been open season on Philly cops lately), Anchorage is considerably more diverse than Fargo. And with more diversity comes more crime. One of the more recent innovations posted on the APD website is a crime map showing the locations and types of crimes in Anchorage. A link to this will be permanently posted in the sidebar of this blog.

Those looking for more information about APD employment opportunities should click HERE.

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