PUBLISHED: 2:11 PM on Wednesday, June 21, 2006
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Juneau Police seeks officer applicants
Juneau Police Department is looking for a few good officers - and dispatchers, too.

The City and Borough of Juneau Police Department is partnering with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development to hold a recruitment and open house from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, at the JPD headquarters at 6255 Alaway Ave.

"The health and human services career fields are hurting at a national level, and Juneau is no different," said Larry Yerich, public relations and marketing for the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

He said the open house at the police station is a chance for the members of the community to see how officers and dispatchers work.

"We want moms and dads to bring their kids to see all the components of police work," Yerich said. "They can observe police officers at work and qualified personnel will be there to answer questions."

Police Chief Greg Browning said the department has held open recruiting for the past two years and are currently short seven officers, as well have a need for dispatchers.

He said that retirement of officers and other factors have left JPD with several positions available.

He said applicants can go online to to learn more about testing and requirements to work with the force.

"There are quite a few steps to make it through, and none of it should be a surprise. It's all listed on the site," Browning said. "We try to get the most qualified person we can. The best thing I can do is get the best team I can, so by design the process is pretty selective."

Browning said the shortage of police officers leaves special programs understaffed.

"Officers are scrambling a little bit. We'd like to have better service rather than go from call-to-call. Some of the other programs have to go by the wayside," Browning said.

He said the department wants to recruit locally as well as beyond Alaska.

"Because of our isolation we try to recruit locally, but we have to reach out to the Lower 48 to get a bigger pool of applicants," Browning said.

Because Juneau is a confined community, the medium-sized police department offers many opportunities that are usually shared among departments in other communities.

"It's small enough that everyone knows each other but big enough to promote opportunities for officers," Browning said.

"Because we're an isolated department, it mandates us to have things like a SWAT team and bomb squad. We're got quite a bit of variety. It's a good career department for an officer to consider joining - just the right size."