2019 Juneau Municipal Elections

Emergency services staffing

The Juneau Police Department and Capital City Fire/Rescue are struggling with staffing shortages. What should the Juneau Assembly do about this?

The Juneau Police Department and Capital City Fire/Rescue are struggling with staffing shortages. What should the Juneau Assembly do about this?

  • District 2 Assembly

    • Wade Bryson

      Candidate for District 2 Assembly

      Well last year, we increased the wages in what I called a price adjustment for the Juneau Police Department. We also increased recruitment bonuses and retention bonuses for both departments. So we made sure, first, they were appropriately funded. I worked very closely with not only the police officers, but the chief of police to make sure that I had all the information, what their needs were from the city. It’s with great confidence that I feel that the chief is on a great path to turning the tide against crime. That, along with the House Bill 49 that just took effect, we’re going to slowly start to see improvements in our first responders, or at least in the reduction in crime, which has been a primary focus of the community. Last year, we had a small reduction in crimes, and now that a few of the policies have changed and the police officers’ morale a little bit higher, we’ll see an improvement in our crime fighters.

  • District 1 Assembly

    • Greg Smith

      Candidate for District 1 Assembly

      Staffing, recruitment and retention for public safety is an issue across the state and it’s terribly unfortunate especially as our communities are really struggling with combating crime and increasing public safety. I believe there was a recent round of raises for our police officers. I think that’s good. There is some efforts at the state level to provide a better retirement. I think that’s necessary. What I hope the Assembly can do is we can ask our public safety employees. ‘What do we need and what can we help you do?’ I’ve spoken and heard some things about, for instance, for police, that they would like more secure radio so that criminals can’t be listening in on a scanner as they’re responding to a call. Those type of things. How can we help them be safe and do their job well?

    • Alicia Hughes-Skandijs

      Candidate for District 1 Assembly

      The city has taken some steps already. We just got through finishing the contract negotiations for the various unions, including the public safety first responders. This is a nationwide problem, unfortunately. So I think it’s really important that the city puts the financial, you know, money where your mouth is, that they’re fully funded and that it’s a competitive so that can help with their recruitment. But we also are trying to look creatively to what is the quality of life like in their actual job life? What’s it going to take to retain them? But it is a nationwide problem and we take it seriously. It’s just figuring out what that magic bullet might be.

  • Areawide Assembly

    • Carole Triem

      Candidate for Areawide Assembly

      Well, we did address that this year with contract negotiations. I believe that process is over. Using our resources of compensation and benefits to attract and retain firefighters and police officers and doing a little bit of restructuring of job classes that hopefully kind of shift their workload that makes those jobs easier for the people who are protecting our communities and keeping us safe.