Fairbanks mayor responds to civil unrest in the city

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) As Fairbanks concludes a week of civil unrest comprised, until now, of peaceful protests, Mayor Jim Matherly has a message for the city he is accountable for maintaining.

"And now, with the tragedy that happened in the lower 48, people are naturally emotional about it. I understand that completely. But I do want people to get along peacefully," says Mayor Jim Matherly about the civil unrest in Fairbanks. (KTVF)

“Honestly, what I want, is I want people to work together on things without getting so angry; if that’s the right way to say it,” Matherly says during a phone interview.

He says that dealing with COVID-19 has created a naturally stressful environment. “And now, with the tragedy that happened in the lower 48, people are naturally emotional about it. I understand that completely. But I do want people to get along peacefully. To talk to each other with respect. I think that’s so important right now, and to try and keep our tempers in check…so we don’t say or do something we might regret,” Matherly says.

The mayor also responded to questions about re-examining use-of-force policies and sensitivity training in the department. “Our Police Chief, Chief [Nancy] Reeder, has looked into that. When I first hired her a year ago, you know we have the Diversity Council that brought some of these already forward to her. So these were already in her radar,” Matherly says.

The city’s Diversity Council, which our station has covered before, gives a louder voice to diversity issues from the city and brings them before the City Council.

“I can just tell you that our police department has done that,” the mayor adds to questions of revising use-of-force policy. “There will be more I’m sure, and with events such as this, the police chief automatically looks at things…that’s just what she does.”

Chief Reeder is currently not available for comment. Lt. Greg Foster is Acting Police Chief in Fairbanks.

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