Homer Police Department bids farewell to 2 officers

The Homer Police Department is in search of new officers after two long time members of the department moved on last month.

Sergeant Larry Baxter and Investigator Jim Knott left the department in January. Baxter had served the Homer Police since 2009, and Knott since 2006.

Chief Mark Robl reflected on the time both Baxter and Knott spent serving the Homer community.

Knott came to the department in 2006 from the Alaska Division of Corrections. He rose through the ranks and was promoted to investigator in 2018. Knott received an advanced certificate from the Alaska Police Standards Council in 2010.

“He did a great job for us,” Robl said.

In his role as an investigator, Knott took extra training and developed the skills needed to investigate cases in addition to regular patrol work.

“The investigator is assigned to work directly for the investigations sergeant,” Robl said.

That means following up on cases and leads, and doing additional work patrol officers don’t have time or the training to do.

“Jim was one of the hardest working officers that we had here,” Robl said. “He really gave it his all, all the time.”

Before joining the Homer Police in 2009, Robl said Baxter had four years of experience with the St. Paul Police Department in Minnesota, and was in the U.S. Army before that.

Baxter earned his advanced certificate from the Alaska Police Standards Council in 2015. As a sergeant of investigations, Baxter went on to head up the department’s evidence room and all the duties that came with that, like tracking the chain of custody for every piece of evidence, Robl said.

He was a competent investigator and had a lot of skill in that area, Robl said of Baxter.

“He again was a very hard worker for us,” Robl said. “He fulfilled the duties of sergeant of investigations and was our evidence custodian, which is a lot of extra duties here at the police station.”

Robl said the department is advertising to bring on two patrol officers. Baxter’s position as sergeant has already been filled by promoting an existing officer, and Robl said the investigator position will also be filled through promotion, though it may take a little while before that happens.

Sgt. Jessica Poling had also been promoted to an investigative sergeant position in October 2020, Robl said.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.