Wrangell’s Alaska Wildlife Trooper position has been reinstated.
But according to Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen, that could still change before the state budget is finalized.
This winter, the Alaska Department of Public Safety was not planning to fill a vacancy left by Wrangell’s former wildlife trooper, Scott Bjork.
State budget cuts led the department to eliminate state trooper jobs across the state, including the one in Wrangell. Local residents and organizations lobbied state legislators to get the position reinstated.
In addition to regular trooper duties, wildlife troopers are trained to identify and investigate hunting, fishing and trapping crimes.
The wildlife trooper stationed in Wrangell has also participated in search and rescue operations and assisted in investigations by other law enforcement agencies.
Without a wildlife trooper in town, troopers from Petersburg, Ketchikan and Juneau have been sent to Wrangell when needed.
Wrangell Borough Assembly Member Stephen Prysunka said he is happy the local position was reinstated.
“I had a situation recently where I needed a state trooper, and it took two weeks for the person to get over to deal with the situation I had,” Prysunka said. “Not very timely. So I’m very pleased we’re going to have that position back in.”
A final decision will be made when the state budget is finalized. The Alaska Legislature is recessed until May 12.