Officer Brayton Long, a member of the Haines Borough Police Department for about six months, handed in his resignation last week.
The police department in Haines has taken another hit. With Long’s resignation, the unit is again down to three: Interim chief Josh Dryden, Officer Chris Brown, the newest hire, and Officer Jordan Welch, who was hired as a temporary fill-in until the department is fully staffed.
Long says he’s looking to take on more creative pursuits, something being a full-time police officer doesn’t allow for.
“I want to write children’s books,” Long says. “Alaska is lacking a little when it comes to books for children.”
Long says he and his family will stay in Haines, where they have friends and family.
“I’m sorry to see him go, he’s a good guy. Other than that, I hope he’s making the right decision for himself,” says Interim Borough Manager Brad Ryan.
According to Ryan, Officer Welch, who is on loan from Hoonah, will stick around for the summer. The police department will continue looking for qualified officers.
“They kind of have an ongoing call, so if someone comes along that’s really desirable, they’ll pursue it,” Ryan said. “I don’t know that we’re going to make an extra effort right now, unless someone came up that was really, highly qualified, and just wait until the new chief’s in town.”
Long says his resignation has nothing to do with a couple of incidents that have drawn attention over recent months. He says the community has been supportive and given him positive feedback.
In January, Long accidentally shot himself in the wrist during a training exercise. He made a full recovery and was back on the job soon after the accident.
He says it was an unfortunate accident, and an “occupational hazard.”
Last week, the Chilkat Valley News reported that Long was involved in an incident on Small Tracts Road which lead to guns being drawn on residents by both Long and Alaska State Trooper Drew Neason. Long and Neason were called to the area after the department received a complaint of gun shots. According to the Haines police blotter, Long and Neason “made contact with the individuals who were shooting” and gave them a verbal warning.
Interim chief Dryden told the CVN he did not believe that Long violated any policy or procedure.
Long says as far as that incident is concerned, he would not have done anything differently.
“I did the best job I could. I continue to learn and learned from that as well.”
Prior to that, Long applied for the job of Haines Police Chief. He made the list of 10 finalists but, but didn’t make it to the top three. This weekend the finalists in that search will be in Haines for interviews and to meet the public.
Long was hired in November and served as an officer in Skagway for five years before that.
Long says he’ll finish out the month at the police department before starting his newest chapter.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from Officer Long.