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10/21/2017
Police and community

Ketchikan is fortunate in its police department.

In the past 30 days, the Ketchikan Police Department has dealt with at least two gun-related incidents.

Police started the week with a standoff in a neighborhood where a man with a gun refused to comply with a warrant. Despite police’s attempts to prevent injury, the suspect shot and killed himself.

Also, in the last month, the police confiscated a loaded AR-15 assault weapon containing 30 rounds of armor-piercing bullets during one of the community’s largest methamphetamine busts ever.

These recent cases show that KPD, although it serves an island community in Alaska, isn’t isolated from the greatest dangers of the profession. We all knew that at one level. These recent incidents take it to another.

It’s unsettling to learn of the type of gun-related activity and types of guns standing loaded and ready to fire in Ketchikan.

Most guns in Ketchikan are secured by collectors and protectors of the Second Amendment; more likely than not most of the guns are of a hunting variety.

A loaded AR-15 isn’t of that variety, and armor-piercing bullets speak to a notorious intent.

In Ketchikan most of us who have spent any significant length of time here know at least one police officer. Maybe more. They’re our family, our friends’ family, our friends. They might live next door. They might visit our school.

We know them; they know us, and together we want a safe community.

Toward that end, KPD also, in the past month, announced its first citizen academy.

The purpose is for participating citizens to gain a better understanding of our police, what they do and why they do it, why it might take as long as it does, and how they go about it.

The academy will accept 10-15 citizens who can apply on the KPD website. Selection of participants started Friday; the academy begins Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 19.

The academy features a tour of the station and includes many aspects of police duties — investigations, law and warrants, evidence and crime scene processing, and various police scenarios.

The academies are designed, more likely by intent than accident, to enhance police-citizen relationships and prevent the animosity between the two that has been experienced in other communities to the point that they escalate violence.

KPD should be applauded for extending itself to the public in this way. It’ll make for a safer community over time.