780 AM | 96.1 FM 


(907) 443-5221

Keeping the Peace

Man in tan security uniform sits at the kitchen table inside his home.
White Mountain VPSO Dan Harrelson, inside his home at Christmastime. Photo: Gabe Colombo, KNOM.

For a quarter of a century, Dan Harrelson has served as the lone peace officer for his home community of White Mountain: population 200.

Since most villages are too small to support a full time police officer or trooper, Village Public Safety Officers (VPSOs) are the first responders in many remote communities in Western Alaska. As such, they hold great responsibility. VPSOs mediate disputes, provide basic law enforcement, and respond to emergencies.

As part of a feature on law enforcement in remote Western Alaska, volunteer news reporter Gabe Colombo interviewed and shadowed Dan for a day in White Mountain, located 77 miles southeast of Nome. Dan had lunch with students at the school, checked on construction of the new store, and helped a youngster get his kittycat snowmachine to fuel. Dan enforces the 10 p.m. winter curfew, relays tips about illegal marijuana shipments to the Western Alaska Narcotics Team, and coordinates search-and-rescue efforts.

Dan’s positive attitude and easygoing personality have served his home village well for 25 years. Thank you for bringing his story to the airwaves!

Image at top: White Mountain VPSO Dan Harrelson, inside his home at Christmastime. Photo: Gabe Colombo, KNOM.

Dan Harrelson assists a child riding a small snowmachine (snowmobile).
VPSO Dan Harrelson gets a small snowmachine ready for towing. Photo: Gabe Colombo, KNOM.
Dan Harrelson stands inside a large garage, looking at an assortment of large vehicles in front of him, including a fire truck and several all-terrain vehicles.
Dan with emergency response equipment and vehicles in the village’s new Public Safety Building, for which he helped spearhead funding and construction. Photo: Gabe Colombo, KNOM.

Share this story


Recent Posts

MS Westerdam Passengers Recall Icy Approach to Nome

Holland America’s MS Westerdam has arrived in Nome. The cruise ship that holds over 1,900 passengers is anchored just off the coast of Nome, too big to dock in the port. Small tenders that hold about 80 passengers each are ferrying visitors to and from the shore throughout the day.

Read More »

First-Ever KNOM Radio Music Fest Draws a Crowd, Drives Donations

Performer Selma Casagranda serenaded audience members with a few of her original songs. Casagranda is from Seward and one of four finalists from KNOM’s 2023 American Idol search. Audience members joined the King Island dance group for an invitational dance. One of KNOM’s 2023 American Idol search finalists, Martin Paul

Read More »

June 20: Rick Thoman’s Climate Highlight for Western Alaska

The following is a transcript from Rick Thoman’s weekly “Climate Highlight for Western Alaska” provided to KNOM Radio. Thoman is a Climate Specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The largest wildfire on the Seward Peninsula since 2019, the Goldbug Fire,

Read More »

Westerdam: First Visitors Expected Around 8 a.m.

Holland America’s MS Westerdam cruise ship will anchor just outside of the Nome Harbor the morning of June 21, bringing with it a wave of tourists to Nome.  According to City of Nome Harbormaster Lucas Stotts, the ship’s passengers will first arrive by tender around 7:45 a.m. The last tender

Read More »



Work for Us:




(907) 443-5221 


(907) 868-1200 

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.