Trooper 75th Anniversary
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2017 K9 Successes

In 2017, AST increased its number of K9 teams to six. DPS also assisted with training and bringing on board a K9 for the Department of Corrections. The certification all the dogs received is considered one of the most difficult in the world due to the number of searches and use of vertlietung (sight, smells, sound and situations) in the search areas. The handlers completed a comprehensive final exam to test their knowledge of dog psychology, training philosophy and detection handling. The dogs ranged in age and experience from brand new, untrained dogs to dogs certified in the past. The same is true for the handlers.

 

K9 MOCHA is based out of Anchorage and is a part of the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force. K9 Misty is based in Ketchikan. K9s Mak, Blazer and Skippy are all working in the Mat-Su. K9 Scout works Patrol in Fairbanks. And, K9 Koda is the Department of Corrections’ K9.

 

AST’s six K9s worked 89 Felony Arrests, performed 149 Agency Assists, worked 607 Days and participated in 979.5 Training Hours during 2017. The hard work resulted in the seizure of 4,757.35 grams of Crack Cocaine, 7,824.19 grams of Heroin, 17,766.35 grams of Meth (powder), 6,020.32 grams of Marijuana*, five pounds of THC oil, 1,842 Pills, $330,918 in Currency and 11 Firearms.

 

*While Marijuana has been legalized, just like alcohol, there are laws governing its sale and the amount allowable that a person can have in their possession.

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Alaska State Troopers Recruitment Unit

It’s no secret that the Department of Public Safety is in need of dedicated public servants to fill the Alaska State Trooper and Alaska Wildlife Trooper ranks. With several dozen current vacancies and many retirements on the horizon, the urgency has never been greater to attract, hire and train qualified applicants. The DPS Recruitment Unit’s efforts have been nothing less than tireless. The personnel have attended 37 separate job fairs, or similar functions, in public venues during the past six months.
 
The hard work is beginning to pay off, and the number of initial applications for the State Trooper job class has risen from 111 for the Fall-2017 academy to 297 for Spring-2018 and a whopping 700+ projected for the Fall-2018 class. However, when it comes to recruitment, it isn’t all about the numbers: finding qualified applicants is more important and that hasn’t been quite as easy.
 
“We don’t hire perfect people,” said Lieutenant Derek DeGraaf, recruitment unit supervisor. “We hire people from all walks of life. Some of those people may have made some mistakes but have learned and grown from those mistakes. We look for people with good communication and decision making skills, and those with life experience and a willingness to serve the community.”
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DPS Comprehensive Review Concerning Investigating Incidents of Domestic Violence

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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