After four years with the Haines Borough Police Department, Sgt. Simon Ford has accepted a position as a patrolman in Palmer. He leaves town July 24 and starts there July 28.

In an interview this week, Ford said he had a long list of reasons for leaving. He said he would miss the people he met and police work here, but that he was “burned out” on the administrative and political parts of the job.

“I really loved the boots-on-the-ground police work in Haines, working with the public and trying to make the government flow and putting the police department in the place it needed to be,” he said.

Ford came to town in 2005 as a butcher and started as patrolman in 2010. He rose quickly through the ranks during a period of turmoil in the five-officer department during which four officers – including a chief – departed in the wake of rogue behavior or criminal convictions.

Previous to the February hire of current chief Bill Musser, Ford served 11 months as interim police chief. He also served 30 months as sergeant. He withdrew his application for the chief position despite noticeable public support for his candidacy.

“I don’t have any interest in bashing the Haines department on my way out,” Ford said, when asked about the strengths and weaknesses of the department here.

He said he was attracted to the professionalism of the Palmer force, including the integrity of personnel there and “consistency” that he saw among officers. “Those things are important. I want to be identified with that and contribute to that.”

Ford also mentioned a recent incident in which he informed a shop owner about an apparent violation of borough code regarding sandwich signs. The borough has since backed off enforcement of the issue.

That the matter – which involved only a conversation – could make the front page of the newspaper reflects how police work is like working in a “fishbowl,” Ford said. “Palmer’s a small town, too, but it’s a bigger fishbowl. I’m looking forward to being a little more anonymous.”

Ford said he also was attracted to the relatively cheaper cost of living in Palmer for him, his wife and 9 children at home. In addition, a one-week-on, one-week-off schedule there was attractive, he said. “What I never had before is that kind of time to be with my family.”

Previous to moving to Haines, Ford and his family lived four years in the Palmer-Wasilla area. They’ve also lived in Petersburg, Kake and Homer.

Palmer has a 15-officer department and its jurisdiction is geographically smaller than Haines, but with 6,500 residents, he said. He expects police work there to be “similar to Haines but more of it.”

Areas around Palmer have drug activity and violent crimes, but those are generally in outlying areas under state trooper jurisdiction, Ford said.