Homer Police Department

HERC and the City of Homer

Aug 28, 2019
City of Homer

For decades, Homer has debated what to do with the 1950s-era former high school building sitting on more than four acres of real estate at the entrance to town. The HERC building, with its small gymnasium and connected classrooms, has been used by the Kachemak Bay Campus and the Homer Boys and Girls Club, and was examined more recently as space that could be renovated to serve as storage associated with a proposed new home for the Homer Police Department.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management

The National EAS Test will take place next week on Wednesday, August 7.
The Emergency Alert System will send a test to radio and television stations. In preparation for this test, KBBI's Kathleen Gustafson hosted a discussion on emergency preparedness with Homer’s Volunteer Fire Department  Chief Mark Kirko, outgoing fire chief, Robert Purcell, Lieutenant Ryan Browning from the Homer Police Department and Dan Nelson from the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management. 

Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

State authorities have charged 11 Alaska residents with 85 felony counts for what they say was a coordinated effort to steal money from ATMs and other property in Anchorage and Homer.

The state Attorney General’s Office announced the charges last week.  Authorities say the alleged thieves stole over $25,000 in cash and checks, bicycles and more than 40 firearms. Most of that money is said to have come from the Salty Dawg Saloon on the Homer Spit.

City reduces bond amount for new police station

Apr 29, 2019
Courtesy of the City of Homer

The City of Homer is borrowing less money than originally anticipated to construct the new police station. In a press release last week, the city announced that it signed off on a $4.1 million bond for the project, lower than the $5 million bond voters approved during a special election in 2018.  

Area residents will pay back that money via a .35-percent sales tax increase, most of which will be eliminated once the project is paid off. A portion will remain on the books to pay for ongoing maintenance costs at the new station.

Image courtesy of Alaska State Troopers

Homer Police have charged the driver of a vehicle that allegedly hit a family member who was trying to prevent them from leaving the popular Bishop’s Beach area in Homer Tuesday.  

Video of the incident made its way onto social media Tuesday afternoon and appears to show a pedestrian blocking the red SUV. The unknown person grabbed onto the vehicle as it tried to back away, flinging them several feet before the SUV took off down the road. The video has since been taken down.

City of Homer

The Homer City Council got its first look at preliminary designs for the new police station Monday. Project Manager Pat McNary, Homer Public Works Director Carey Meyer and Homer Police Chief Mark Robl presented the partial plan for the building, which will sit on the corner of Heath Street and Grubstake Avenue.

Council members discussed everything from the size of the break room to the elevator and the roof, which will be flat under the current design.

Council member Caroline Venuti worried that would lead to frequent and expensive maintenance.

Courtesy of the Homer Police Department

Homer Police arrested a former Save-U-More employee for allegedly robbing the store late last month. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, police say Earl Watson stole items such as a 50-inch screen TV, some chainsaws and other appliances.

Save-U-More was closed on Christmas Day. Employees realized items were stolen a few days later and reported the incident to police on Dec. 27.

Officer Larry Baxter arrested Watson that day. Baxter said he returned the stolen items found in Watson’s cabin to the store. But it’s unclear if all the items that were stolen were returned.

Courtesy of the Homer Police Department

A driver hit a pedestrian in Homer Wednesday as they used a crosswalk near the intersection of Kachemak Way and Pioneer Avenue. Homer police say the pedestrian, Agnieszka Smerecka, did not suffer any injuries. According to police, the driver, Tiyana Hill, said the sun was in her eyes and she simply did not see Smerecka. Officers responded to the scene and Smerecka was transported to the hospital as a precaution.

Officers cited Hill for failing to provide insurance and the case is under review. Police could cite Hill for additional driving violations.

Loaded gun found in bathroom on Homer Spit

Aug 10, 2018
Courtesy of the Homer Police Department

Homer Police say a loaded firearm was found in a public restroom on the Homer Spit Wednesday. An officer responded to the scene and took custody of the weapon before the registered owner returned to the area.

Homer Police Chief Mark Robl says the gun was returned to the owner.  Homer Police told KBBI Friday that it was not reported which restroom the firearm was found in.

Courtesy of the Homer Police Department

Homer Police arrested a local woman Tuesday for posing as a city employee while attempting to purchase $1,100 worth of building materials on a city account.

Twenty-four-year-old Homer resident Rheanna Tussey allegedly attempted to make the purchase at Spenard Builders Supply.

A cashier at the store reported Tussey to police after  realizing she was not a city employee. Police charged Tussey with several counts of forgery, theft, criminal impersonation and resisting arrest among other charges.


Burglars break into Salty Dawg, steal cash from ATM

Apr 30, 2018
Aaron Selbig, KBBI News

Homer’s most iconic bar, the Salty Dawg Saloon, was broken into over the weekend. Manager Cecilia Rockett said two men broke into the bar sometime after it closed early Sunday morning. Rockett said calls of support have been pouring in all day.

“Everybody that works there, we’re all incredibly overwhelmed because we’ve all worked there for a number of years and it’s kind of basically our second home,” Rockett said. “It’s hit us pretty hard in the gut. For me personally, I basically shut my phone off for a while today, go for a walk and clear my head a little bit.”

Image Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer City Council is close to finalizing its proposal for a new $7.5 million police station. On Thursday, it came to a consensus on how it will ask the public to pay for $5 million of the project and how complete of a design it will present before Homer residents vote on a bond measure this fall.

The council unanimously agreed to pay for a survey of the site that would map out utilities, sample for hazardous material and determine soil composition.

Public Works Director Carrey Meyer told the council he expects the site to be suitable for the new station.

City of Homer

Lieutenant Will Hutt is retiring from the Homer Police Department after serving the community for twenty-four years.  He started in Homer in 1994 and was promoted to lieutenant in 2013. His last day on the job is just about a month away. 

Lieutenant Will Hutt is cleaning his office. It’s full of things he’s collected over the years. 

"I don't know; I've got a lot of junk," he said opening a metal drawer.

Shahla Farzan, KBBI News

As the Legislature debates criminal justice reform, pieces from last year’s major reform bill, Senate Bill 91, are still being put into place. The Alaska Department of Corrections is working to launch its pretrial enforcement division by next year, which will shift Alaska’s protocol for releasing defendants before trial to a risk-based system, rather than releasing only those who can afford bail.

The DOC is looking to contract local police departments to provide pretrial services, but some police departments are reluctant to sign onto the program.

Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer City Council got its first look at preliminary design plans for a new police station Monday. The council contracted Stantec to design a rough $6 million layout in August, but the design firm came back with both an $8 million and $6 million option.

A task force recommended building a $6 million or $9 million dollar building at the corner of Heath Street and Grubstake Avenue earlier this summer, but the council has focused on the cheaper option due to concerns over the cost of maintaining a larger building.