Haines Police Department

Haines Police Department in Feb. 2015.

The Haines Borough Manager, Mayor and Interim Police Chief issued a letter Wednesday about the soon-to-be released study of the Haines police department.

The study cost the borough $22,000. It was requested by Borough Manager Dave Sosa and conducted by Greg Russell of Soldotna-based Russell Consulting. In March, he interviewed residents in Haines, observed the police department, and reviewed their policies.

The letter says the mayor, manager and chief wanted to provide the community with some ‘summary information’ before the full police study is released ‘on or about’ this Friday, August 14th.

It goes on to say that the audit identifies long-standing shortcomings in areas including management, adherence to policy and procedure, training, evaluation and accountability within the department.

The letter says the problems in the police department fall on the shoulders of a succession of police chiefs, borough managers, public safety commissions and borough assemblies. It says those bodies failed to administer effective management and oversight of the department for more than a decade.

In all capital letters, the signatories of the letter say, ‘we will correct the situation and deliver positive changes.’ They also say that corrective actions are already happening with Interim Police Chief Robert Griffiths. The letter points out the department has seen a complete turnover in officers.

Former Police Chief Bill Musser was on the job while the audit was being conducted. He announced his resignation in March and his last day with the department was in May. Griffiths took over after Musser’s departure.

The signatories on the letter say the shortfalls of the department were years in the making and will take time to correct. A draft plan of ‘corrective action’ will be drawn up, with public input, following the release of the audit.