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



The problem with newly-hired police officer Chris Brown’s stated determination to curb over-serving in local bars is not that Brown wants to stop over-serving in local bars.

It’s that without a directive to step up enforcement from the Haines Borough Assembly or the police chief, Brown too easily can be made out to be a rogue agent or loose cannon, and become a target.

Then it’s Howie Martindale all over again.

Martindale was a new officer here 16 years ago who went after drunk drivers much more aggressively than did his fellow officers, making 17 DUI arrests in less than six months. Complaints were made by citizens alleging abuse of power. Martindale said his family’s safety was threatened. A month of meetings by a municipal board of inquiry largely exonerated Martindale, but with hard feelings all around, he left town.

That should have been a lesson. If Haines Police feel it’s necessary to crack down on over-serving, that should be a department-wide policy supported by the borough, with each officer stepping up enforcement.

Otherwise, Chris Brown will be the next Howie Martindale.

- Tom Morphet


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