Public Radio for the Central Kenai Peninsula
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support public radio — donate today!

Borough considers new trespass and public records policies

Tammy Goggia-Cockrell, director of the Kenai Peninsula Borough 9-1-1 Dispatch Center, testifies about harassment at the center by one resident at the Borough Assembly's March 19 meeting.
Riley Board
Tammy Goggia-Cockrell, director of the Kenai Peninsula Borough 9-1-1 Dispatch Center, testifies about harassment at the center by one resident at the Borough Assembly's March 19 meeting.

Two new policies regarding civil trespassing and public records requests are on the table in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

On Tuesday night, the borough assembly voted to introduce two ordinances related to public access to borough buildings and records. The policies follow concerns about one resident, who borough officials say harassed employees at multiple borough offices and made unreasonable records requests.

Tammy Goggia-Cockrell, who directs the Soldotna Public Safety Communications Center, a 911 dispatch center, testified Tuesday night about the impact harassment has had on the center’s employees and functions. She said the individual has been calling the center for seven months.

“There is no request for service or response by law enforcement, fire or EMS. The calls are strictly intended to harass the staff. These calls are at times antagonistic, including name-calling and threatening to have our jobs. Also, demanding physical access to the emergency response center, where we live,” she testified. “At other times, the calls continue to tie up 911 professionals, whose jobs are to help members of the community calling with legitimate needs.”

Goggia-Cockrell told the assembly the individual would park outside the response center for prolonged periods, demand to know the full names of dispatchers and make veiled threats.

Borough Mayor Peter Micciche, who authored the ordinances, said the borough tries to be as open as possible to the public in all circumstances, but this one individual’s behavior crossed a line.

“When you have someone that’s waiting around in the bushes, filming female employees, looking in their cars trying to figure out who owns each vehicle by filming inside and putting them online… at some point this has to be reasonable,” he said.

The ordinances would only apply in the most extreme of circumstances, Micciche said. The trespass ordinance would allow the mayor, or the official in charge of a particular borough building, to prohibit a person from entering a building by oral or written order.

The trespass order could be issued based on the belief that one of the following things has occurred: Violation of a policy that protects borough and school district employees against certain conduct; interference with “orderly conduct” of borough services; a threat of violence; an act of violence; or “a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed against a borough employee or official as it relates to their capacity as a borough employee or official, or against a member of the public while within borough facilities.” The trespass order could not exceed 24 months.

The records ordinance requires all requests to go through the borough clerk’s office, and if one individual’s requests take up more than five hours of personnel time per month, they’ll have to pay those personnel costs. Records must be clearly described and the clerk can deny a request if they deem the purpose to be harassment of borough employees.

“This is going to affect likely one person, and fifty-nine-thousand-nine-hundred-and-whatever borough residents will not be negatively impacted,” Micciche said. “In fact they’ll be positively impacted.”

He said the individual’s behavior has cost the borough money and time over the past several months, and he said while he hopes these policies never need to be used, they would give the borough the tools it needs in case a similar situation arises in the future.

The assembly will vote on both ordinances at its April 16 meeting.

Riley Board is a Report For America participant and senior reporter at KDLL covering rural communities on the central Kenai Peninsula.
Related Content