Ride-along with the Cordova Police Department: Part 1

The Cordova Police Department (CPD) has been serving the City of Cordova since the early 1900s.

Chief Andrew Goss, who joined the department last year, is the captain of the team of police officers. His crew said they admire their leader, sharing he has boosted morale since his arrival.

“When he came on board, he got morale up. He has got people doing what they like to do, leveraging his assets accordingly, and allowing us to make this our own,” said Sergeant Cameron Hayden.

The department is planning to bring on some new recruits in the near future. Recruitment has been relatively tough, Hayden shared, especially bringing new people up to remote Alaska.

“It is a necessary position, and Cordova deserves quality people who are going to stay,” said Hayden.

But certain folks are intrigued and eager to serve in a law enforcement capacity in the last frontier.


“There is still something romantic about that great Alaskan adventure,” said Hayden.

“This is great, and I have got hunting and fishing at my fingertips when I am not working,” said officer Daniel Fiser, who hails from the lower 48.

There aren’t only human officers roaming the CPD halls and keeping the community safe. Eyak, a black lab, is a trained law enforcement canine that is an integral part of the team, sniffing out drug paraphernalia for the force.

Sergeant Hayden and Officer Fiser said they both enjoy their jobs and care about the community in which they serve.

“You are a face in the community, rather than an unknown guardian in the shadows … the days when our job is extremely fulfilling outnumber those bad days and keep us pushing through the bad days, and motivate us to continue to work here and continue to be a positive force in the community,” said Fiser.

Hayden and Fiser addressed the public and common misconceptions about police work.

“If you don’t report It, we are not going to know about it …  we want to let people know we are here for you. Not just traffic, not just drugs, not just DUI’s, we are here for everything. Our job is to keep people safe,” said Fiser.

“The police you see on TV, it doesn’t work like that. We don’t have CSI crime units that come in here. We are doing it: we are taking the fingerprints, we are taking the photographs, we are collecting the evidence, we are sending [it] to the crime lab and writing the reports, we are doing follow-up and interviewing victims, witnesses and suspects. We are doing it all,” said Hayden. “Whereas larger departments and on the TV, they have all the specialized units and resources. There’s a lot of misconception and misunderstanding as to our capabilities and what it is we actually do here.”

The CPD rig used for the ride-along is a new truck with state-of-the-art equipment. The interior of the vehicle includes a computer, a dash camera, and a “prisoner quadrant.”

Officer Fiser discussed the ins and outs of the day-to-day operations while driving around the community. It was a quiet evening out the road and in town. Fiser said they get roughly ten calls a day, depending on the time of year.

In early February a drug bust resulted in five arrests, and the seizure of firearms and “large amounts” of fentanyl and methamphetamine. It was a move to help stop Illicit drugs from circulating in the community. The search and seizure brought outside law enforcement entities to Cordova, including a statewide drug enforcement unit and SWAT team.

“With our drug bust we pretty much had all of us working every single day preparing for that,” said Fiser.

The drug bust was a lot of behind-the-scenes investigative work for the department, shared Fiser, who also said it took 15 months to collect information leading up to the bust.

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Amanda Williams
Amanda Williams, originally from California, is a reporter, photographer and videographer for the Cordova Times. She has a long history of writing professionally for magazines and newspapers in her home state, and she also writes her own music. Williams is a decorated Navy veteran. When she isn’t covering the news, she enjoys skiing, singing, spending time with friends and family and traveling. She first came to Cordova as a VetsWork intern working for the Forest Service as a public outreach specialist on the Cordova Ranger District.