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State Fire Marshal Warns of Dangers Posed by Heating Sources

December 1, 2022 (Anchorage, AK) - As temperatures continue to drop across the state, many Alaskans are firing up their stoves, space heaters and heat lamps. Whether in the house, a barn, shed, or chicken coop, these heating sources have the potential to cause a fire. The Department of Public Safety and the Division of Fire and Life Safety would like to remind residents there are things they can do to help prevent fires. Remember to keep flammable materials such as, blankets, Christmas trees, firewood, flammable liquids, straw, hay, and feed away from heat sources.
 
“The Alaska State Fire Marshal’s Office would like to encourage Alaskans to take steps to lower the risk of fire at their home and other buildings on their property during the winter season. Make sure to check that all electrical equipment is free from damage and properly used,” said Acting State Fire Marshal Lloyd Nakano. “Check to ensure that all smoke alarms are working and that you have a charged fire extinguisher easily accessible. Taking simple steps can help keep you, your family, and your animals safe from fire.”
 
If you have children in the home, ensure that matches and lighters are kept safely out of reach. For residents who raise animals, residential smoke alarms and commercial smoke detectors do not work as well in barns or areas with high levels of dust because the dust clogs the mechanism, rendering it inoperable unless it is cleaned frequently.

For more information regarding detection and alerting devices, visit: http://www.firesafetyinbarns.com/articles/detection-and-alerting-devices/. More information about keeping home safe from fire can be found at: https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Publications-and-media/Press-Room/Reporters-Guide-to-Fire-and-NFPA/Key-Fire-Safety-Tips. Go to www.nfpa.org/farms to learn more about fire safety on the farm.

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Public Safety Academy Graduates 43 New Law Enforcement Officers

November 18, 2022 (Sitka, AK)— In a graduation ceremony in Sitka, 43 new law enforcement officers received their badges today. The ceremony was closed to the public, but those that are interested can watch a video recording on the Alaska State Troopers Facebook page.
 
“Congratulations to this newest group of law enforcement officers that graduated the Alaska Law Enforcement Academy today,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “I want to express my gratitude for your commitment to serve and protect Alaskans across the state, and for the positive difference your service will make to future generations of Alaskans.”
 
Graduating recruits completed more than 1,000 hours of training over the course of 17 weeks of basic Alaska Law Enforcement Training. Schooling included intensive instruction in law enforcement-related topics, physical fitness, and many scenario-based exercises designed to prepare entry-level police officers and Troopers for successful careers in Alaska law enforcement.
 
“Today’s Academy graduation marks another rollout of Alaska’s highly specialized law enforcement officers due to their endurance through this intensive training,” said Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell. “Through the Alaska Law Enforcement Training Academy’s demanding and refined skill set training, these officers will move forward, continuing to progress in their career through public service in all regions of Alaska.”

 

Following graduation, the 23 Trooper recruits will continue their training at the academy for an additional week. The “Trooper Basic” training includes tailored and advanced training in fish and wildlife investigations, boating safety, survival, commercial fisheries enforcement, search and rescue, and critical stress management. Recruits also participate in additional scenario-based trainings.

Upon completion of Trooper Basic, recruits will move toward their first duty assignments in either Fairbanks, Soldotna, or the Mat-Su Valley, and begin a 16-week Field Training and Evaluation Program. All Trooper recruits are expected to develop to the point of being able to perform all law enforcement functions independently. If successful, the Trooper recruits will be promoted to the rank of Trooper upon completion of their probationary period, generally 12 months from the start of the academy.

**Lateral recruits attended an abbreviated eight-week academy.

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Troopers Seize Rainbow Fentanyl, Arrest Lower 48 Dealers

November 10, 2022 (Fairbanks, AK) – On November 9, 2022, narcotics Investigators assigned with the Alaska State Trooper’s Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit (SDEU) seized over 4,100 counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl and 88 grams of heroin after concluding a multi-day investigation in the Fairbanks area. Additionally, Arizona residents 36-year-old Christopher Birdow, 37-year-old Daniel Barnes, and 29-year-old William Gurley were arrested for trafficking these illicit narcotics from the lower 48.
 
“Your Alaska State Troopers are committed to doing our part to stop the flow of dangerous illegal drugs into Alaska. This year alone we have seized millions of potentially fatal doses of fentanyl that was bound for Alaskans,” said Lieutenant Tony Wegrzyn, Deputy Commander of the Alaska State Trooper’s Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit. “This operation should serve as a warning to lower 48 drug dealers that plan on peddling drugs in Alaska that we take drug trafficking seriously. Know that the Alaska State Troopers will aggressively investigate drug trafficking and hold those that deal death accountable for their actions in our state.”
 
On November 3, 2022, Trooper investigators were tipped off that three narcotics traffickers from Arizona were selling fentanyl-laced pills in the Fairbanks area. Narcotics investigators from the Fairbanks Area Narcotics Team (FANT) began a coordinated investigation into the three traffickers. On November 9th, Trooper Investigators from FANT along with Troopers from the Fairbanks Criminal Suppression Unit, Patrol, and Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) executed a search warrant at a Fairbanks area hotel and seized approximately 1,090 blue “M30” counterfeit fentanyl pills, 3,090 rainbow “M30” counterfeit fentanyl pills, approximately 88 grams of heroin, and $13,500.00 in cash. The estimated Fairbanks street value of these illicit narcotics is $150,000.
 
Birdow, Barnes, and Gurley were arrested without incident and remanded to the Fairbanks Correctional Center on charges of Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance II, Misconduct Involving a Weapon II & III, and Tampering with Physical Evidence.
 
“This investigation shows that drug traffickers will go to extremes to distribute their deadly illicit narcotics, in this case, all the way to Alaska from Arizona,” said Jacob D. Galvan, Acting Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division. “We are committed, along with our state and local partners, to relentlessly and aggressively pursue, arrest and hold these individuals accountable for the harm they bring to our communities.”
 
The Fairbanks Area Narcotics Team (FANT) is an Alaska HIDTA initiative made up of law enforcement officers from the Alaska State Troopers, North Pole Police Department, Fairbanks Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
 
If you have information about illegal drug trafficking occurring in Alaska, you can submit anonymous tips to the Alaska State Troopers using the AKTips smartphone app or online at https://dps.alaska.gov/tips.
 
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