JUNEAU, Alaska — The police chief in Alaska’s capital city is leaving after four years to lead a police force in Idaho.
Bryce Johnson was appointed chief in the city of Idaho Falls and said he took the job to be closer to family.
Johnson told KTOO radio (http://bit.ly/2tjmlNe ) that working for the Juneau Police Department has been a highlight of his career and he is “a little sad to go.” His last day is July 28.
During Johnson’s tenure, the city has grappled with drugs, property crimes and homelessness. Johnson said other places face those same issues.
“The whole country’s going through an opioid epidemic, and you’ve got these issues going on all over the state and all over the country,” he said. “That’s not something you can escape in law enforcement.”
State budget cuts and legislative efforts to overhaul Alaska’s criminal justice system have added pressure to local law enforcement, Johnson said. He thinks Juneau police have worked to meet those challenges.
Juneau City Manager Rorie Watt praised Johnson. He told city officials in Idaho Falls that if he could have offered Johnson a raise to persuade him to stay in Juneau, he would have.
Ed Mercer, Juneau deputy police chief, will be the acting chief until Johnson’s successor is hired, Watt said.
Johnson served in the Salt Lake City Police Department for about 20 years before coming to Juneau.