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DPS Comprehensive Review Concerning Investigating Incidents of Domestic Violence

January 5, 2018  DPS PR# 18-001

The Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Office of Professional Standards, a unit dedicated to the investigation of potential violations of internal policies by DPS employees, has initiated an internal investigation this week concerning the action taken by troopers during an earlier disturbance call to the Smith residence on 1-1-2018.

  The Department of Public Safety takes violations of internal policies seriously, so it is important in any investigation to get the facts correct before reaching any conclusions about what occurred. That investigation is ongoing and may take several weeks to conclude. Since this investigation is about policy violations, these are personnel matters that are confidential by law.

The Department of Public Safety has a comprehensive 21 page policy concerning investigating incidents of Domestic Violence. That policy requires an arrest once probable cause has been establish in situations where the victim is placed in fear by words, conduct and/or is hurt by the aggressor. That policy was last updated in 2011 and, at my direction, is currently being reviewed to ensure it is up to date.

An Alaska State Trooper did conduct a traffic stop on Mr. Smith late on New Year’s Eve. Mr. Smith successfully completed the requested field sobriety tests, so the decision not to arrest was made and that was relayed to him. Concerned about the level of impairment the Trooper then additionally requested a voluntary field breathe test and Mr. Smith complied. The Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) results are not admissible in court as to the level of intoxication, so Mr. Smith was provided a ride home. Such practices are discretionary and within our policy.

Any additional details into this incident could compromise the legal or personnel action that may occur.

Walt Monegan

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