JPD going "backwards" on officer recruitment

    JPD Chief Ed Mercer

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Juneau Police Department has taken a step backwards in its effort to recruit officers.

    At one point the department got down to five vacancies, but  Chief Ed Mercer explained while a guest on Action Line that they are now down nine officers.  "We went backwards.  We lost two officers recently within the last month.  About a month and a half ago we lost another one."

    The chief said the officers located to the Lower 48.  "The last two that left, they just decided to get out of law enforcement all together and try something different down in Texas."

    We asked if those who chose to leave the law enforcement field were spurred by the negative news surrounding errant police officers.  The chief believes that played a role in the decision by the two most recent departures.   One of the officers had 12 years experience.  The other worked as an officer for six years.  

    The chief was asked about his confident level that his officers are devoted to doing the working of policing correctly.  "Very high.  We do a very good job for one going through the vetting process to hire our officers."  In addition, he says when a complaint is filed they look in to it to make sure they are doing the correct thing and maintaining their core values to ensure they are serving the public righteously.    

    There is a positive on the officer front for the department.    It came last Friday at the Public Safety Training Academy in Sitka when two of Juneau's officers graduated.  The chief said Owen Walsh and Austin Thomas will now enter the department's field training program after 15 weeks at the academy.

    Chief Mercer encourages anyone interested in becoming a police officer to call the department for information on how to do that.


    More from News of the North

    • Juneau Property Owners Send Letter to CBJ Asking for Clarity on Land Value Increase

      Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - A group of property owners in Juneau sent a letter to the city's assessors office asking them to explain the methodology used to develop what they deem a dramatic one-year increase in over 700 land values.

    • Alaska man suffers minor injuries in Iowa helicopter crash

      WAUKON, Iowa (AP) — An Alaska man suffered only minor injuries when the helicopter he was flying over a northeastern Iowa cornfield hit a power line and crashed.

    • UAS Adjusting COVID Precautions ahead of Fall Semster

      Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - University of Alaska Southeast is changing its COVID precautions this fall to include more face to face services as well as making administrative services that were formally available only online, now available in-person, on-campus.

    • Travel Juneau Embarks on Advertising Push for Independent Travelers

      Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Even without large cruise ships every day, Juneau is still seeing a good turnout of visitors this year.

    • Tuesday's COVID-19 report for Juneau

      Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Nine new cases of COVID-19--five residents and four non-residents--were reported in Juneau Wednesday. Two of the four non-resident cases are tourists. There are currently 69 active cases of COVID-19 in the community.

    • Juneau hosts National Night Out

      Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - First responders and community members mingled over hot dogs and hamburgers Tuesday evening during Juneau's 13th annual National Night Out. The event consisted of four private neighborhood block parties and three public events. Festivities kicked off Tuesday evening all across Juneau, with two events held in the valley at the Airport Mini Mall and AT&T store, as well as an event in Cope Park.

    • Haaland hasn't made decision on Alaska refuge road issue

      JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A U.S. government attorney says Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has not decided the position she will take on a proposed land exchange aimed at building a road through a national wildlife refuge in Alaska.

    • Seward plans parade to honor hometown gold medalist swimmer

      ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaskan swimmer Lydia Jacoby, who won a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympic Games, will get a parade in her honor.

    • Juneau Airport Acknowledges US Coast Guard Birthday

      Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - In recognition of the United States Coast Guard’s birthday today, the Juneau International Airport is flying the Coast Guard flag on the airport terminal’s flag pole array.

    • Teleworking on the rise in Alaska

      Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The popularity of teleworking or working from home spurred by the pandemic is on the rise across the nation including Alaska.

    • USDA to Continue Smaller Old-Growth Timber Sales

      Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – The Tongass National Forest is continuing to offer small and micro old-growth timber sales during the remainder of 2021 with the aim to support economic opportunities in a number of rural communities in Southeast Alaska.

    • State Assess 8.2 Earthquake Damage on Alaska Peninsula

      Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - An interagency assessment team consisting of borough and state officials was deployed to the region on Monday by the State Department of Military and Veteran Affair's Emergency Management Division following last week's 8.2 earthquake.


    • Sitka Ham Radio Club

      Sitka Ham Amateur Radio Klub - SHARK - meets 2 p.m. the first Saturday of the month at the Sitka Sportsman's Association: 5211 Halibut Point Road. All interested in ham radio are welcome. For information contact Darryl Ault AL7W at 738-4539, or visit the Facebook Group.

      at None

      The Bureau of Land Management is now accepting applications from eligible Alaska Native Vietnam-era veterans and heirs for up to 160-acre-allotments under the Dingell Act. The Bureau is missing contact information for nearly 750 potentially eligible vets. Call 907-271-5998 for more information.

      at None
    • Ride to Read

      Transportation can be tricky, and Sitka Public Library is here to help! We have funds available to help community members access transportation to the library. If you’re interested, please contact us at 747-4020 or email This program is made possible through a generous donation from the Friends of Sitka Public Library.

      at Sitka Public Library