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

Police chief asks for more funding


April 25, 2019

On Tuesday, the Committee of the Whole (COW) discussed borough manager Debra Schnabel’s proposal for the townsite service fund, which accounts for police, road maintenance and canine control.

The assembly spent much of the meeting debating police Chief Heath Scott’s claim that the police department budget needs increased funding.

“We are at a bit of a tipping point,” Scott said. “It’s very hard to function with five officers in a 24-hour window.”

Schnabel’s budget proposes to increase the Police Department budget by $37,826, for a total of $992,979. Schnabel agreed with Scott that these funds are not enough for constant police service.

“I have learned a lot and I would say that our police department expenditures are not adequate at this time to provide twenty-four-seven coverage, and in a way that provides for a good working environment for police officers,” Schnabel said. “The police officers not only work 40 hours a week, they also do standby, which is an energy-draining experience.”

Schnabel compared the number of police officers and police department budgets for similarly-sized communities: Cordova, Petersburg, Wrangell, Dillingham, Craig and Hoonah. “I have come to believe that we do not adequately fund our police department,” Schnabel said.

Assembly member Tom Morphet voiced opposition to significantly increasing the budget for the police department.

“The more we spend on police the less we have for other valuable programs,” Morphet said, who mentioned that in the spring of 2017 the assembly approved adding another full-time police officer, and had not increased funding sources to cover the $150,000 increase.

Lende asked why the police department went over budget by $28,000.

“One of the significant burdens from the budget (this year) was caused by myself,” Scott said. “I had back surgery. I was on six weeks of personal leave for personal surgery. That time away cost the borough $10,000.”


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