After over 25 years working for the Sitka Police Department Lieutenant Barry Allen is retiring. He has some anxiety about leaving the community that he loves, but is looking forward to the next stage. KCAW’s Emily Forman met with Allen yesterday(4-28-14) – his last day at the Sitka PD.
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As a reporter in Sitka, Barry Allen is the guy I call when I need information on something I’ve read in the police blotter. He always makes an attempt at sharing what he can.
Forman: Hey how’s it going. I just realized, I never know if I should call you Barry or Lieutenant Allen.
Allen: Barry’s fine. I’m not formal.
He’s 51 years old. And he’s worked for the Sitka PD for 25 years.
Allen: I’ve had half of my life here in Sitka.
Today is his last day. Allen and his wife are leaving Sitka and heading north towards Nenana.
Allen: We got a little room and got a house up there. Just kind of kicking back and doing whatever for a little while.
Forman: That will be an interesting transition I imagine.
Allen: It will be. I’m going from a very structured environment to being left on my own so I guess it’s up to my wife to keep me in line from here on out.
He’s been the Operations Lieutenant in Sitka for the last 10 years.
Allen: The Operations Lieutenant supervises the jail, dispatches animal control, parking investigations, and patrols. I’ve held pretty much every position on the law enforcement side of the Department since I’ve been here.
So, he’s seen a lot. Specifically, how the issues have changed. He says at the moment it’s meth and heroine addiction. In the past he’s seen streaks of burglaries. He says sometimes there’s a disconnect between what he feel should be addressed and what the community actually cares about.
There can be two completely different perspectives on the world and that’s where getting to know people is important,” Allen says, “because you need that feedback otherwise you’re kind of missing the point.”
Allen says it took him 25 years to learn how to be approachable. He’s gotten to know families across several generations. And the effort has paid off. Especially when working with prosecutors.
Forman: So you can provide context and a connective thread to… fill in the whole picture?
Allen: Exactly to fill in the whole picture because a criminal case is just a microcosm of what might be going on with that family or person. Most people that get in trouble in Sitka are not really truly bad people. They’ve made a mistake or some other set of circumstances has caused them to react to something in some specific way.
Forman: Have they hired a replacement for you?
Allen: Yes, they have. His name is Jeff Ankerfeldt and he’ll be on board June 2nd.
Forman: Do you have any words of advice for your replacement? How to be successful in this job?
Allen: Get to know the community.
While this is the end of his law enforcement career in Sitka, he’s not finished with law enforcement altogether. Allen says he might like to pursue forensic photography. But, for now he’ll see how it feels to kick back.