Lt. Krag Campbell with the Juneau Police Department smiles for a photo Tuesday evening outside of City Hall. Campbell is one of two finalists seeking the chief position at the department. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Lt. Krag Campbell with the Juneau Police Department smiles for a photo Tuesday evening outside of City Hall. Campbell is one of two finalists seeking the chief position at the department. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Juneau officer seeking department’s top spot says 21 years in community an asset

Lt. Krag Campbell one of two finalists for chief of police.

The City and Borough of Juneau is set for major change as the finalists for who will take the reins as chief of police meet with residents this week.

On Tuesday the community got to meet Lt. Krag Campbell, one of two finalists vying for the top position after it was announced Monday the third finalist, Joshua Kingsbury of New Mexico, withdrew from consideration citing personal reasons.

Campbell currently serves as a lieutenant and spokesperson for JPD, and has been an officer in Juneau for more than two decades. Prior to joining in 2002, he spent five years in the army as a military police officer. He lives in Juneau with his wife and children, and is originally from Ketchikan.

On Tuesday evening about 20 people showed up to Campbell’s meeting. He was given the theme “transforming community-centric policing in Juneau in the digital age” a day prior to the meeting and tasked with giving a presentation about what he aims to do if selected as chief.

Campbell emphasized his familiarity with the department’s current technology, such as its use of body-worn cameras, virtual reality simulations and robotics. He pointed to other technologies like drones, and modernizing reporting and data systems, that also exist within the department. He said technology can enhance an officer’s ability to do their job, but ultimately cannot replace the necessity of face-to-face interactions.

He said those face-to-face interactions are critical because of Juneau’s geographic limitations and small size. He said it’s important to maintain good community relations and transparency.

“We live in the community we police,” he said. “I can’t come here to police, take the badge off, and drive an hour or two home, and pretend that my actions don’t impact the community — as an officer we are the face of the department and every interaction we have represents the department.”

In recent years the department has faced growing vacancies for both officer and dispatch positions. As of late July the department was reportedly down 14 officers from its 57 spots available and its dispatch center has a 33% vacancy rate.

Campbell said his role as chief would be to support officers’ wellness and listen to what changes they think would alleviate some of the burdens they face. Campbell said from his experience working in the department, it’s not uncommon for some patrol officers to work 30 to 40 hours of overtime each pay period. He said it’s likely those burdens could be contributing to the department’s retention issues.

“What we don’t want is people getting burned out or going, ‘I don’t want to do this job anymore,’” he said.

Campbell said examining how to restructure those mandatory hours allocated between officers would be one of the first steps he would take if chosen as chief.

“We have officers in the investigation unit, drug unit, people that work at the airport and, as is right now, they might not all share an equal slice of the patrol work,” he said. “So trying to get more people doing that to relieve some burden I think would be very helpful.”

Because of his current role as one of the two spokespersons for the department, Campbell said he would take on a more active role in communicating to both the public and city officials as chief.

Campbell said his experience in Juneau is more valuable than having someone outside the community take the role because he knows the ins and outs of both the department and the community.

“Living 21 years in a community you know things about it — you know what works, what doesn’t work — and as well as the department, you are able to listen to people for the past 20 years to hear them talk about what’s going right, what’s going wrong,” he said. “It’s allowed me to build that trust.”

The second finalist for the position, Derek Bos of Colorado, is set to host his town hall meeting Thursday evening. Bos currently serves as chief of police in the Eagle Police Department in Eagle, Colorado. He’s held the position since December of 2022. According to CBJ Human Resources and Risk Management Director Dallas Hargrave, the city will not add a replacement candidate for Kingsbury. Hargrave said the city received 18 applicants for the position in total, three from Alaska.

Deputy Chief David Campbell currently serves as interim chief, but will retire Friday. City Manager Rorie Watt said he could not give a timeline for when a selection process would take place following the town hall events.

Know & Go

What: Candidate Town Hall meetings

Where: City Hall Assembly Chambers

When: Derek Bos, Thursday, Sept. 28, 5:30 p.m.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651) 528-1807.

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