John Wahl and Dan Decker have joined the Dillingham Police Dept., each bringing decades of law enforcement experience to the job.
The Dillingham Police Department has two new police officers, each brining decades of police experience to the patrol division according to Police Chief Dan Pasquariello.
Officer John Wahl joined the police department in early November. Wahl has 20 years of law enforcement experience in Alaska and the lower-48.
Wahl was working at the Sand Point, AK Police Department when he was hired by DPD.
According to the department, Officer Wahl began his police career in Florida, where he worked for 14 years. After a short hiatus, Wahl then spent three years as a police officer in Haines, Alaska. Wahl then spent four years as a police officer in Wyoming before returning to Alaska law enforcement in Sand Point.
The department says that Officer Wahl replaced an officer who left in November to move to Anchorage with his new wife.
Officer Dan Decker joined the police department in mid-December. Decker has 19 years of law enforcement experience, and all of that time has been spent in rural Alaska communities, according to the department. Decker was working as the roving VPSO based in Dillingham when he was hired by DPD.
Officer Decker began his police career in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, first as a village police officer in Hooper Bay. Decker has also served as a VPSO in Hooper Bay and Sleetmute, and since 2005 in Ekwok, Iguiugig, and Togiak before becoming the "rover" for many of Bristol Bay's villages.
Officer Decker replaced an officer who left in December for a position in a slower paced Southeast Alaska community, according to the department.
Chief Pasquariello says these new officers represent the direction the city is taking to recruit police officers either from the Bristol Bay region, or with experience in rural Alaska. Five of DPD's officers were living in, or born in, the Bristol Bay region prior to being hired.
Pasquariello says that hiring from within the region ensures that the police officers are familiar with the local cultures of the area, and are comfortable living in the region. He adds that the city feels that hiring people from the Dillingham region will increase employee retention and provide a higher level of police service to the community.
The city is currently looking to fill one vacant officer position at DPD.