CORRECTION: The original version of this story referenced three potential post closings. Only two posts, Talkeetna and Girdwood are currently planned for closure.
According to Colonel Jim Cockrell, head of the Alaska State Troopers, Talkeetna will lose its trooper post this summer. Cockrell confirmed the decision to KTNA on Wednesday.
“At this time, the decision is to move our Troopers out of the Talkeetna Post, close down the office base, and house them out of the Mat-Su West Facility south of Big Lake.”
The reason for shutting down the Talkeetna Post, which is currently located near the junction of the Talkeetna Spur Road and the Parks Highway, comes down to budget, according to Colonel Cockrell.
“Even if we could squeak by this fiscal year…we’ve been instructed that we’ll see at least another five percent–or more–cut next year for the next four years, up to a twenty-five percent reduction in our overall operations.”
Under the current plan, a trooper will still be assigned to cover the Upper Valley during each shift, but he or she will be based out of the Mat-Su West Post. Colonel Cockrell says it’s unfortunate that there will no longer be a permanent presence in the area. He believes that being part of the communities they serve is something that Troopers do well, and the Trooper covering the Upper Valley will not necessarily be the same, day-to-day. Cockrell says that means less ability to be part of the community.
“You certainly lose some ability to, I guess, mingle with the communities and after hour functions, stuff that when you have your families and stuff there you would normally partake in.”
Colonel Cockrell says the Alaska State Troopers’ lease on their current location ends on May 31st, and that the move would take place around that time.