Should Sitka’s police department take on a contract to answer 911 calls from Whittier and Girdwood Alaska? When the assembly meets on Tuesday (2-28-23), it will consider that question.

According to a memo from Sitka Police Chief Robert Baty, the city was awarded the contract in January after submitting a bid to provide full dispatch to the communities southeast of Anchorage. This would include general phone answering for non emergency calls as well as 911 dispatch and radio communications, and documenting that information.

If approved by the assembly, the contract pays $55,000 per year for two years with the option of three one-year extensions.

The Sitka Police Department has struggled to attract and retain dispatchers for the last year. According to the memo, the funds would help Sitka’s police department better recruit for those positions. Baty writes that Whittier’s call volume is minimal, and would have little effect on the police department’s current operations.

In other business, the assembly will discuss whether to create a “tourism task force.” According to a memo from assembly members JJ Carlson and Chris Ystad, the nine-member group would be tasked with reviewing the City of Juneau’s findings around capping or limiting tourism, developing an annual review cycle for Sitka’s tourism-related operations, and helping to create a “Tourism Management Best Practices” Program.

The Sitka Assembly meets at Harrigan Centennial Hall at 6 p.m. tonight. Raven News will broadcast the meeting live, following Alaska News Nightly.