Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966



The latest act in the farce that is the recent history of the Haines Borough Police Department is last week’s message from city hall: The police force has been so bad we can’t even tell you about it. That is, the borough will black out certain parts of a yet-unreleased, taxpayer-funded $22,000 study of the department because “specific personnel actions…could impact personnel issues.”

Let’s try to parse this out: Taxpayers who paid for a study of what happened with the criminals and bumblers that they paid to be policemen can’t get that information because it might damage the reputations of the criminals and bumblers? Or maybe the study’s information would violate agreements the borough made with the criminals and bumblers to not say anything bad about them after they left their jobs?

I’m sorry, but the wing-nut faction that wants to eliminate the police department is starting to sound smart. That’s scary.

It’s unclear why we needed to study the police department. For no money at all, anyone could have combed the past four years of this newspaper’s online archives and learned that:

∙ Chief Bill Musser resigned in March, although it was unclear he ever did any police work while here.

Gary Lowe, the chief before Musser, resigned when it became clear he was a bully and most of the rest of the department wanted him gone.

∙ Sergeant Jason Joel resigned, apparently because he could not be trusted around women.

∙ Officer Cassandra McEwen resigned when she was charged with criminal abuse of animals.

∙ Officer Kevin Kennedy was fired after allegedly lying under oath.

∙ Officer John Havard resigned, then lost his badge in Alaska, apparently for misconduct elsewhere.

∙ Officer Ken VanSpronsen joined the police force after leaving a more prestigious and lucrative job as an Alaska State Trooper, and no one at the troopers or borough will say why.

∙ An uncounted but substantial number of borough police officers have resigned and an uncounted but substantial number of crimes have gone unsolved.

Here’s a crazy prediction: For $22,000, the borough’s consultant will tell us to hire better cops, and probably that we should spend more money and effort to recruit qualified ones and then pay them to the level of their ability.

That much a guy sitting in a newspaper office can figure out. If the study doesn’t say a lot more than that, we were ripped off $22,000.

- Tom Morphet


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