AST > PIO > Press Releases > Recruitment/Retention Plan Overview and Employee Engagement Survey
3/6/2018 DPS PR#18-12

Recruitment/Retention Plan Overview and Employee        Engagement Survey

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska)—The Alaska Department of Public Safety (DPS) is in a very challenging time, a pivotal juncture of personnel challenges combined with a growing demand for public safety services. To aggravate this, the state’s fiscal situation has reduced funding for department programs and services. For years, DPS has been asked to do "more with less," resulting in a department that is now stretched a mile wide and an inch deep. Forty-five of the 389 commissioned trooper positions are vacant, yet, if we filled those positions today, it would put DPS over budget. Current funding levels would neither permit filling of the vacancies nor allow delivery of the service that Alaskans expect.

In the Fall 2017, DPS undertook an effort to assess the morale of its personnel and the overall health of the agency through an internal survey. The survey involved commissioned troopers within the ranks of DPS and showed that while most troopers are proud of the department, morale has been impacted by several challenges: inadequate staffing, lack of training, wage disparity, and lack of a defined benefit retirement package, among others. These factors make it clear why DPS is having difficulty filling the vacancies, and the department is looking at innovative strategies to overcome these challenges—steps that must be taken if DPS is going regain its health.

Most of the problems identified in the survey were external in nature, making it clear that the department’s ability to fulfill its mission hinges on adequate funding from the legislature. Significant efforts from lawmakers are therefore needed for the department's plans to be effective over the next five years.

AST belongs to the citizens of Alaska. As such, DPS has an obligation to educate the public on the challenges we face. DPS has put together a Recruitment and Retention plan to address the issues presented over the next five years. Both the survey and the plan overview can be found on the Alaska State Trooper homepage.
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