July 23, 2020 (SITKA, Alaska)— This coming Sunday, July 26, Alaska Law Enforcement Training (ALET) 20-02 is slated to begin with 53 recruits from multiple agencies. If all the recruits make it to the academy, it will be the largest class since 2007, surpassing ALET 20-01 by one recruit. The academy will be near maximum capacity with 16 Alaska State Troopers, eight Alaska Wildlife Troopers, two Court Services Officers, 11 municipal officers, six Airport Police and Fire officers and 10 Village Public Safety Officers.
The Fall 2020 hiring cycles were the most challenging in recent memory for the DPS Recruitment Unit. This was not only because of the very high initial application number— 1,539— but also because COVID-19 hit our nation right before our big testing weeks in April and June kicked off.
“To preserve the work of the previous year in reaching out to applicants and working them through the many difficult steps in the process while still managing our responsibility to mitigate this pandemic in our state, we had to retool our entire testing regimen,” said Alaska State Trooper Captain David Willson. We accomplished this with a variety of electronic tools and were able to largely preserve a hiring cycle that, even after a record number of withdrawn applications, is tied for the largest class of Trooper Recruits that we’ve sent to Sitka in the last decade.”
Most of the recruits traveling to Sitka are from in state. However, nobody will be able to walk into the academy without a negative COVID-19 test result. If recruits do not have a negative test result from within 72-hours prior to arriving in Sitka, they fly to Sitka a day early and stay at a hotel while awaiting a test result. The DPS is contracting with a private lab to COVID test recruits, with a 24-hour result turnaround.
“I hope all Alaskans join me in thanking these recruits for embarking on a journey to serve this great state even as we navigate a global pandemic,” said Commissioner Amanda Price, Department of Public Safety. “We are eager to begin training these recruits to provide quality public safety services in all corners of our state.”
“Alaskans deserve quality law enforcement officers. I am dedicated to supporting the efforts and standards of the Department of Public Safety’s training academy. The professional staff have consistently delivered highly trained officers to protect Alaskans,” said Governor Mike Dunleavey. “All Alaskans deserve quality public safety and I would like to thank each recruit for endeavoring to provide that crucial service.”
CSOs will be at the academy for five weeks of training. Municipal, Airport Police and Fire and VPSOs will graduate after 16 weeks of training. Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers will continue training specific to DPS for an additional two weeks after graduation.