Girdwood, Whittier 911 calls will be routed to Sitka police dispatcher

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Outsourcing is getting further out there. The communities of Girdwood and Whittier will now have their 911 calls routed to a dispatcher 600 miles away at the Sitka Police Department, which was awarded a contract to provide dispatch services for the next two years.

The Sitka Police Department says that the additional funds from the contract will help the agency attract and retain dispatchers. Currently, the department is recruiting for a dispatcher, and the wage starts at $22.50-$24.60 per hour with full government benefits.

In 2022 the Sitka Dispatchers answered a total of 25,495 phone calls and 2,921 of those calls were 911 emergencies, the department said. Dispatchers ended up spending a total of over 552 hours on the phone providing customer service to our community.

Whitter is a town of 273 people, according to the most recent census, and provides police response to Girdwood, which is within the greater municipality of Anchorage. Girdwood’s population is about 2,029.

The Anchorage Police Department was unable to expand to provide service to the Girdwood community due to staffing shortages. Anchorage police are paid by the Anchorage Police Service Area taxpayers, and Girdwood is outside that zone, which has a boundary at McHugh Creek. An Alaska State Trooper station was located in Girdwood for several years but was closed by former Gov. Bill Walker in 2016. Whittier was awarded a three-year contract in 2016 to provide policing services to Girdwood.

24 COMMENTS

  1. Girdwood should just hire 3 cops and call it a day. The 3 they hire can rotate on 3 8 hour shifts and a they can cascade the 911 calls to the cell phones the cops carry. Give them a month off a year for vacation, you will have the other two on 12 hour shifts for 3 months a year for roaming and dispatch. Far cheaper than anything else they could do.

    • You beat me to it. Dispatching going to the lowest bidder. No need to have Geo understanding, just dispatch the resource as they become clear of their previous call.

      The Coast Guard use to handle spills at the District level. Now the National Response Center takes all pollution calls, and includes the district only if there’s an ongoing response. No geographical familiarity, just pushing the cart to the end of the isle.

      Essentially, India.

    • Dispatchers in Sitka might speak better understandable English to callers than those in India.

      • True. Have you had to negotiate a outsourced tech call recently? It’s a conspiracy perpetrated by the bourbon makers. I can’t start a call without a double bourbon. Nightmare!

        I see the benefits, but the dispatchers should at least have a familiarity with the area, best use of resources.

        Maybe I’m wrong?

      • Alaska’s k-12 education system places 49th out of 50 states in the USA that collectively rank 18th in the world in reading. Singapore, Ireland, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan are the top five in reading. The USA performs far worse in science, math and technology. The one thing the US students performs best in: self esteem.
        .
        Bottom line: anyone is always better off outsourcing most everything offshore. Our nation is one of entitled idiots.

  2. Guessing they’re not expecting communications to go down between Girdwood and SE AK. And if it does, what then? Will Girdwood be up a well known creek without a paddle?

  3. What happens when communications are down! Due too weather or whatever. Uhm pondering thoughts! It’s all about monies!

  4. Paybacks for Holtan Hills? Malice? Proof of hostile personalities in emoluments and no representation on Alaska Highway 1, you know the jewel of the Nile, billions spent on enticing unwary tourists into the most underdesigned bottleneck in AK. Kenai has actual contingency plans and administrative federal billing process up to Hope; why not continue it to Girdwood. Closer than Sitka and that makes more sense if making sense is of value to anyone.

  5. Sitka, has a population of 8,300. It’s simply math, this creates 1 well-paying job that someone is grateful to have, Sitka has knowledge and expertise being a small-town themselves, and it covers the expenses and subsidizes the existing dispatcher expenses, and then some. A humble and great way for a small-town to operate and be of service. Perfect fit.

  6. Hey, be happy you have a 911 with a person on the other end. In Seattle, they have 911 but all you get is a busy signal.

  7. I love that Girdwood to Moose Pass is no longer in the state of Alaska. Is this even legal? ALASKA highway #1, underdesigned for the vehicles that drive it. Built in 1959 for vehicles in production then not fifth wheel turning radius’ now and DOT of Alaska knows that. So that 1959 curve and sky high accident rate because no American highway is designed like that at the bridges guarantees more unattended deaths and someone has a nice cush job in SItka cuz that is what all these fed transport dollars are for right? SOMEONE’S good looks in Sitka. Charming. I just wanted to out that.

  8. IF President Trump was in office I would notify him of this abject negligence. The current regime would be unable to straighten “this” calculating misjudgement being perpetuated here.

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