On the Job: Officer Doug Fifer and the Anchorage Police Department

CITC Board Member and APD officer shares what it’s like to serve his community

Officer Doug Fifer, CITC Board Member and officer with the Anchorage Police Department. Photo courtesy of APD

In the space of an hour, Doug Fifer might go from settling a dispute between neighbors over loud music to investigating a homicide. “That’s what makes the job rewarding and exciting,” said Officer Fifer, who has been with the Anchorage Police Department for 25 years. “The best part of the job is that it’s always changing and offering me new ways to affect the community in a positive way.”

Fifer, who also sits on CITC’s Board of Directors, has been focused on positively affecting his community since he was a child. Born in Homer and raised in Homer, Eagle River, and Anchorage, Fifer grew up part of a family that was always involved in their community, doing volunteer work, and making sure their neighbors were taken care of.

“My parents instilled in me to be out there, helping where I could. That stuck with me.”

The desire to help his community led him to become a police officer. His Native heritage also emphasized values like respect, honesty, and integrity, which, Fifer said, “All translate nicely into a career in law enforcement.”

Over his career with the ADP, Fifer has worked as a negotiator, a field training officer, a school resource officer, a recruiter, and a member of CSI-type crime scene specialty teams. Whatever interest an individual has, Fifer said, there’s likely a related career opportunity with the APD.

He pointed out that while APD is fairly diverse, the department has recently put more effort into recruiting individuals from a variety of backgrounds, including Alaska Native people.

“Police departments are made better when they’re made up of people with different backgrounds, from different walks of life and different experiences,” he said. “I would love to have more Native officers on the force, since a big proportion of our community is Native.”

In addition to attending job fairs and other recruitment events, APD is partnering with organizations like CITC to foster relationships with the Alaska Native community. One Wednesday each month the APD also offers Citizens Academy, a 13-week training opportunity designed to enhance people’s understanding of the role of APD in the community. While Citizens Academy doesn’t prepare individuals to become police officers, it’s a good first step toward exploring what a job in law enforcement might be like.

For those individuals who want to pursue a career as an APD officer, Fifer says there’s no single disposition or skill set suited to the job; interested candidates should be ready for a job that can be tough but is always rewarding. Once a candidate has passed a background check and a physical agility test, they may be selected to attend an academy where they’ll learn law, defensive tactics, firearms, and other aspects of being a police officer. Finally, those who successfully complete the academy will complete on-the-job field training with a more experienced officer.

“I tell people that APD will teach you everything you need to know; you just come with an honest heart, a good brain, and a respectful attitude, and we’ll do the rest,” said Officer Fifer.

Interested in a career as an APD officer? Contact Alaska’s People at (907) 793-3467 or alaskaspeople@citci.org to explore job opportunities. You may attend the Citizens Academy, or contact APD for a ride-along with an active officer. You can also learn more or apply online at joinapd.org.