By Melinda Munson

Former Acting Police Chief Jerry Reddick is now Skagway’s permanent chief of police. The Skagway Borough Assembly voted 4-2 on June 3 to promote Reddick, with both Jay and Steve Burnham casting nay votes.

Neither Jay nor Steve had an issue with Reddick, who has served as acting chief since October 2020 when Ray Leggett said he was told by the municipality to step down or be terminated. 

The Burnhams’ concerns with the new chief were financial.  

“I have an issue with the basic terms of the contract. I don’t believe that we should be putting $120,000 annually into this position at this time,” Steve said.

“I’m pretty famous for saying that seems like a lot of money,” Jay added.

According to Borough Manager Brad Ryan, the city’s range of pay for the position is $80,000 to $136,000.

Reddick has over 20 years experience in policing, including narcotics investigations. He has lived in Skagway for nearly three years.

“‘We have somebody who is proven — a member of the community,” said Mayor Andrew Cremata. “We don’t have to worry about bringing him in, supplying housing, going through all the other hoops that we have to jump through when we want to bring in qualified professionals.”

Ryan clarified that should Reddick be an hourly employee, he would make closer to $150,000 per year with overtime and other considerations.

“…He’s not going to be the highest paid officer on the force,” Ryan said.

Assemblymember Reba Hylton was part of the interview process.

“I was very, very impressed,” she said. Hylton reported that when Reddick was asked about Skagway’s most pressing issue, “without skipping a beat, Chief Reddick said mental health.”

With three assignments now filled, Skagway has one vacant officer position.

There is a notable change in the newest police chief’s contract. 

“I added an automatic termination clause to the contract if Chief Reddick is to lose his certifications with the Alaska Police Standards Council (APSC),” Ryan wrote in his memo to the assembly. 

In 2016, Leggett lost his APSC certification and continued as administrative chief.

The current municipality administration has high hopes for its newest department head.

“I’ve personally had over a dozen people come to me and say how much they appreciate the work of the chief,” Cremata said.