National Police Week 2016: Coast Guard Base Kodiak military police

Three Coast Guard police officers stand next to the police car at Coast Guard Base Kodiak, Alaska, May 12, 2016. The Kodiak Coast Guard military police have an area of responsibility of over 20,000 acres. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson.

Three Coast Guard police officers stand next to the police car at Coast Guard Base Kodiak, Alaska, May 12, 2016. The Kodiak Coast Guard military police have an area of responsibility of over 20,000 acres. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson.

As we honor our nation’s law enforcement officers during National Police Week, May 15-21, we are highlighting the Coast Guard’s very own police officers here in Kodiak, Alaska.

The Coast Guard Police was established when the U.S. Navy commissioned the base prior to WW II. In 1972, Base Kodiak established a security force.

With a roster of 18-22 members, Coast Guard Base Kodiak Police Department covers over 22,500 square acres of government property in Kodiak, Alaska. Chief Petty Officer Eduardo Vitorino, a maritime enforcement specialist at Kodiak CGPD explains some of the unique details of providing base security and public safety on a remote island.

A Coast Guard military policeman displays his arm patch on Coast Guard Base Kodiak, Alaska, May 12, 2016. Kodiak military police provide security for over 2,100 members and their families. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson.

A Coast Guard military policeman displays his arm patch on Coast Guard Base Kodiak, Alaska, May 12, 2016. Kodiak military police provide security for over 2,100 members and their families. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson.

CGPD often works and trains alongside the Kodiak Police Department and Alaska State Troopers.

“We [CGPD, KPD and AST] are the only law enforcement agencies on the island that deal with local law enforcement,” said Vitorino. “We are different agencies, but we work together. We are one team.”

During summer months, Vitorino said they get a lot of calls to ‘shoo’ bears away from residential and high-traffic areas. Since it stays light so late, people are often still outside past 10, when it is more likely to see a bear.

“You build a lot of character here, the biggest feeling is actually knowing that you’ve made a difference,” said Vitorino. “We impact lives here everyday.”

Coast Guard Fire Department and Coast Guard Police Department are often the first responders on scene for calls about medical emergencies in base housing or car crashes near base.

A Coast Guard military policeman displays his arm patch on Coast Guard Base Kodiak, Alaska, May 12, 2016. Kodiak military police provide security for over 2,100 members and their families. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson.

Coast Guard Base Kodiak Police Station stands near the entrance of the base. Coast Guard police often work with other local law enforcement agencies and share training. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson.

Since the state road travels through government property, CGPD not only has responsibility of ensuring road safety of military members, but also local residents.

“When we roll, we roll as a team,” said Vitorino. “As first responders, we’re here for our Coast Guard men and women and the public. That is why Kodiak’s CGPD is such an asset; we not only take care of our own, but also the local community- since we are part of this great community.”

Thanks to all who protect and serve.

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