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Kodiak Police Department moving away from 24/7 patrols due to continued staffing shortages

Police Chief Tim Putney swearing in one of the newest Kodiak Police Department officers in 2022.
Kodiak Police Dept./Facebook
Police Chief Tim Putney swearing in one of the newest Kodiak Police Department officers in 2022.

By the end of this month on May 27, the Kodiak Police Department will no longer be able to sustain patrols 24 hours a day, every day [24/7], due to steadily declining staffing levels.

Police Chief Tim Putney told KMXT in January, this will be the first time in decades, since the 1980s, the department has not been able to maintain overnight patrols throughout the whole week.

“At the current trend we’re looking at probably going to a different schedule, that means we’re not going to have patrol officers 24/7 and that’s something we’ve never done in the community,” Putney said in January.

Putney referenced the downward trending staffing levels in a report to the City Council late last month on April 25. In 2021 the department had 16 police officers including Chief Putney, a detective sergeant, and a detective, but by the end of this May it’ll be down to ten officers. The Kodiak Police Department is budgeted to fill 17 police officer positions.
Putney said the lone detective with KPD was reassigned to cover patrol shifts earlier this year and another officer resigned last week on May 6.

Based on the current scheduling system, that won’t be enough to support sending two officers out on every patrol shift overnight. The few remaining officers already work 12 hour shifts, with three days off every other week. Putney said that results in more overtime and more burnout, so he’s looking to change how shifts are scheduled.

“I’m pretty against the idea of having them working solo, for safety reasons,” Putney said in January. “So we would probably have them available at home, on call, but just not on the clock for these extended overtime periods.”

Putney said he is considering going to traditional eight hour shifts that would consistently cover 8am to midnight on a daily basis. KPD would also potentially have officers on graveyard shifts, which would involve some working ten hours instead of eight.

Chief Putney said earlier this year that he believes one of the main reasons for the dwindling staff is a lack of housing in Kodiak. The department has not had a new hire since the fall of 2022. It also takes three months on average for a new officer to finish training.

According to the police department’s data, as the number of officers are falling, the number of calls for service are rising. Kodiak Island’s dispatch center saw an increase of one thousand calls for service from 10,161 in 2021 to 11,227 in 2023. The department anticipates gaps in emergency response and less proactive policing with fewer officers at the end of the month.

Chief Putney will provide a staffing update during his presentation to the Kodiak City Council at its work session next week on May 21.