Local trooper dispatch line fried; 911 still works

Doo-dee-doop. That’s the sound lower Kenai Peninsula residents get when they try to call the Alaska State Troopers nonemergency dispatch phone number, 907-235-8239. The three-tone beep is followed by a recorded message saying “We’re sorry. Your call cannot be completed as dialed.”

That number died recently after equipment at the Anchor Point Alaska State Trooper Post failed due to an aging system, said Trooper Sgt. Daniel Cox, head of the post, in an email. Nonemergency calls can be made to 907-262-4453, a long distance call to dispatchers at the Soldotna Public Safety Communications Center.

“We understand that this is a long distance call and regret the inconvenience, but hope it is only temporary,” Cox said.

Emergency calls to 911 still work, and whether from a landline or cell phone will be connected to public safety dispatchers at the Soldotna Public Safety Communications Center. Calls made from within Homer city limits are routed to dispatchers at the Homer Police Station. A Soldotna dispatcher answers emergency calls outside city limits and routes calls to the appropriate fire and emergency services department or troopers.

Actually, all the lines at the trooper post failed, but troopers have been able to make the administrative line, 235-3000, usable, Cox said. That line isn’t answered after about 4:15 p.m.

The 235-8239 phone number, which would automatically connect after hours to the Soldotna Public Safety Communications Center and the trooper dispatcher, is out of service. The administrative line is answered at the trooper post, but it cannot be forwarded after hours to Soldotna dispatchers.

Cox said the problem began several weeks ago when troopers began having problems with its system at the Anchor Point Post. State technicians worked with Alaska Communications, the local phone company, and tried to fix the problem. Each fix caused more problems until the system completely failed.

Alaska State Troopers are looking at several options to replace the Anchor Point phone system, Cox said.

“Our command is working on selecting which option we are going to proceed with and getting work started,” he said. “We are working diligently on getting the issue fixed, but due to the multiple levels of approval needed, it is not known when the work will start.”

East End Road resident George Smallwood called the Homer News last Thursday to alert people to the problem. Smallwood lives near Mile 16 East End Road. Smallwood said in the past he has used the nonemergency trooper line to report issues like reckless drivers. He has a cell phone, but service is spotty.

“If I want to call dispatch up in Soldotna and want to report some activity, I have to call long distance or go up on top of the ridge to use my cell phone,” he said. “My question is, ‘Why should I have to do that? Why don’t I have cell phone coverage out here?’”

Jenny Martin, an aide to Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, said Seaton’s office is aware of the problem with the nonemergency local dispatch line. She got the same explanation as Cox provided, she said.

In discussions with the city of Homer on dispatch consolidation, the city and borough did not discuss a local dispatch line if Homer dispatch service was moved to Soldotna, said Paul Ostrander, special assistant to Kenai Peninsula Mayor Mike Navarre. Ostrander didn’t know if there was a toll-free nonemergency dispatch line.

Homer Police Chief Mark Robl said his office was aware that the nonemergency trooper dispatch number was down. Robl also said there had no been discussions regarding dispatch consolidation about providing a local, nonemergency dispatch number.

At the Oct. 24 Homer City Council meeting, the council passed a resolution rejecting dispatch consolidation, but council member Donna Aderhold has asked for reconsideration of the resolution. Reconsideration will be on the agenda at the council’s next meeting on Nov. 28.

Ostrander said a 911 fee charged to phone bills supports only 911 emergency equipment or dispatcher time handling a 911 call. Those fees cannot be used to support nonemergency dispatch equipment or time.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

More in News

Christie Hill prepares to play “Taps” during the 9/11 memorial service on Saturday. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Homer honors lives lost during 9/11

The Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary held a Sept. 11 memorial ceremony at the… Continue reading

Judith Eckert
COVID-19 patient says monoclonal antibody infusion saved her life

Antibody infusions highly effective in reducing risk of hospitalization, according to FDA trial ..

A sign flashing “Keep COVID down” also offers information on where to get testing and vaccines on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
SPH holding steady in COVID-19 surge

Despite hospital crisis in Anchorage, Homer’s hospital not impacted, spokesperson tells Homer City Council.

Brie Drummond speaks in support of mask mandates on Monday, Sept. 13, for the Kenai Peninsula School Board meeting at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. During a work session before the meeting, the district presented revisions to its COVID-19 mitigation protocols. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
School district revises COVID-19 mitigation plans

The revisions come as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Alaska and on the Kenai Peninsula.

A protester stands outside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin building in Soldotna on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Parents square off over masks at school board meeting

Some parents said they will keep their kids home if masks are required, while others say they’ll keep their kids home if masks aren’t required.

Borough School Board election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Homer City Council election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Janie Leask, a Homer resident, spoke in support of the new multi-use community center during Monday night’s city council meeting, stating the need for community recreation is vital.
Council moves forward with HERC plans

After years of discussions and planning, the Homer City Council is quickly… Continue reading

Most Read