The Haines Police force will lose an officer next week. The department had a history of high turnover, but this will be the first departure in four years.
Officer Brayton Long is leaving the Haines Police Department after almost four years of service to the community.
“Now that I’m getting older, I decided it’s time for me to pursue my dream,” he said.
Officer Long plans to start a small tour company called Alaska Local Tours. He says he’s been planning to return to the tourism industry since working as a river guide in the 1980s. He says he’s also had just about every job you can imagine in Alaska: from working as a deckhand in Bristol Bay and Lynn Canal to helicopter logging out of Ketchikan.
Long got his start as a police officer in Skagway where he served for five years before taking on his position in Haines.
“My whole personal goal to try to be a positive influence for community,” said Long.
“Every day that I go to work, my goal was to do better than the day before. What I mean by better is to try to communicate with people at personal level, bridge that gap that police officers are people too.”
He says he gets to retire knowing he gave it his best shot. Long says he will remain affiliated with the department as a volunteer auxiliary police officer.
“Evidently there’s been a history of turnover. particularly in Haines. This last few years with myself, Seargent Dryden, Officer Brown, and Adam Patterson, we [are] a pretty dedicated core of officers,” he said.
Borough records show that in the three years before Heath Scott took over as Police Chief in 2016, the Haines Police Department saw at least one position turn over every year. Long will be the first officer to leave the force since 2015.
He says the last few years as an officer in Haines stood out in his career.
“I enjoy working with Police Chief Heath Scott. I’ve worked for a lot of different employers, supervisors, bosses throughout my lifetime,” he said.
“I can look back with last few years with Heath and I have enjoyed his demeanor, I have enjoyed his wonderful attitude. It catches on, and I just wanna say that’s a highlight for me.”
Chief Scott is considering other options himself. He is a candidate for the campus police chief job at the University of Alaska at Anchorage.
Officer Long joined the Haines Police Department in November of 2015. His last day will be May 7th.