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Anchorage Police Department
Common name Anchorage Police
Abbreviation APD
AK - Anchorage Police.png
Patch of the Anchorage Police Department.
AK - Anchorage Badge.png
Badge of the Anchorage Police Department.
Agency overview
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of Anchorage in the state of Alaska, USA
Map of Alaska highlighting Anchorage Municipality.svg
Map of Anchorage Police Department's jurisdiction.
Size 1961.1 square miles
Population 279,671[1]
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage Police
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Anchorage Police Department (APD), is currently the law enforcement in the city of Anchorage. It is the largest police force in Alaska.



The city of Anchorage had a modest beginning as a tent city on the banks of Ship Creek and was originally called Ship Creek Landing. Law enforcement for the Alaska Territory had been in the hands of the United States Marshals. On November 23, 1920, Anchorage was incorporated as a first class city.

On December 22, 1920, the City Council appointed John J. Sturgus to begin as Chief of Police on January 1, 1921, at a salary of $200 a month. He was a one-man police department until his death just six weeks later. He was shot and killed with his own gun on February 20, 1921. Sturgus's murderer was never apprehended. The city council voted to offer a $1,000 reward, the mayor pledged an additional $250, and all other council members and clerk pledged $100 each, bringing the total reward to $1,950. His death was to be APD's first unsolved homicide. Many men served as chief during Anchorage's violent territorial years. In 1926, the council began hiring night watchmen during the long winter months of October through March. On June 19, 1935, the council received a petition signed by seven property owners to provide a 24-hour police force.

The Department got along on foot with the occasional use of a citizen's borrowed car and the use of taxis until the city decided to purchase a vehicle. In August 1930, APD got its first police vehicle: a used Ford for $63.75. It wasn't until April 1941 that the council voted to purchase the Department's first new police car—a 1941 Dodge 4-door sedan, completely equipped with siren and spotlight, for $1,401.80.

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, the military began building bases and the population of Anchorage began to grow, jumping from 4,229 in 1939 to 30,060 in 1950.

In 1975, the City of Anchorage merged with the Greater Anchorage Area Borough (GAAB) to form the Municipality of Anchorage. Though APD contracted police services to the Borough, "Spenard officers" had to use separate ordinances and accounting systems in their duties. APD's service area increased from 31 square miles (80 km2) to 110 square miles (280 km2).

Today, the Anchorage Police Department is the largest police department in Alaska, serving a population of roughly 275,000 in a service area encompassing 159 square miles (410 km2). There are several specialized units including Canine, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), Homicide Response Team, Hostage Negotiations Team, Bomb Team, School Resource Officer (SRO), Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), Identification Section, Data System Section, Records Section, Traffic and Crime Prevention Unit. APD's Homicide Response Team has been nationally recognized for their techniques and solvability rate.

The Anchorage Police Department's website claims that "APD has come a long way since those early Territorial years" and then states that, nevertheless, "the men and women of the Anchorage Police Department are proud of their heritage and remain dedicated to protect and serve their community." [2]

Fallen Officers

Since the establishment of the Anchorage Police Department, 10 officers have died in the line of duty. [3]

Officer Date of Death Details
Chief of Police John J. Sturgus
Sunday, February 20, 1921
Chief of Police Harry C. Kavanaugh
Thursday, January 3, 1924
Patrol Officer Benjamin Franklin Strong
Thursday, January 4, 1968
Patrol Officer William G. Pfalmer Jr.
Saturday, December 26, 1970
Patrol Officer Johnathan Paul Flora
Monday, September 8, 1975
Patrol Officer Harry Edward Kier
Tuesday, October 28, 1980
Automobile accident
Patrol Officer Harry Biddington Hanson Jr.
Thursday, July 17, 1986
Patrol Officer Louie Gordon Mizelle
Tuesday, June 6, 1989
Senior Patrol Officer Dan Richard Seely
Saturday, October 26, 1996
Patrol Officer Justin Todd Wollam
Monday, July 9, 2001
Vehicular assault

See also


  1. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in Alaska". United States Census Bureau. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-07-14.  
  2. ^ Anchorage Police Department History page
  3. ^ The Officer Down Memorial Page

External links



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