Trooper 75th Anniversary
AST > PIO > Press Releases > Home

Press Releases

DPS has Record Recruitment Cycle

November 5, 2019 (ANCHORAGE)— Last week, the first of two application periods for the July 2020 Public Safety Academy closed out with just over 1000 applications submitted to the Trooper Recruitment Unit. The large swell of applicants is credited to a recruitment graphic that went viral on Instagram, as well as on-going advertising efforts.

 “We didn’t even realize what happened at first. All of a sudden our office turned into a massive call center,” said Lt. Derek DeGraaf, Recruitment Supervisor for the Alaska State Troopers. “Even the company that does our written testing called us and asked what happened because they were overwhelmed and inundated by people setting up proctored written tests.”

While the number of applications was enormous, it is too soon to tell how many people will make it through the intensive background checks. Vetting applicants is a six month process and before applicants are invited to fill out the questionnaires, they must pass the written exam and demonstrate on their initial application that they meet the minimum standards for hire. The projection for the number of recruits at the July 2020 Academy is for 25-30 attendees just for DPS. A second hiring cycle has been opened for the same July 2020 training academy and will remain open until January 31, 2020.

“Even with the large application pool, we will be sending out a lot of rejections. This is due to the applicant not having passed the written test yet,” said Lt. DeGraaf. “Many people will be encouraged to resubmit their application in the hiring cycle that just opened because they meet the minimums but hadn’t had the opportunity to schedule their written exam.”

“Continuing to fill ranks to increase number of troopers statewide will help us to bolster our focus of increasing public safety in rural Alaska, which the Dunleavy administration has committed to doing,” said Amanda Price, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. “We are happy to report that this focus we’ve put on recruitment is paying off and we look forward to putting more recruits through our academy and getting them out to serve the people of Alaska.”  
For more information about becoming an Alaska State Trooper, click here:
  Read More

Alaska Fire Service Award Recipients Named

November 1, 2019 (ANCHORAGE) — Anchorage Fire Department firefighter/paramedic Christopher “Doug” Widener was off duty and driving down the Old Seward Highway this past January when his daughter pointed out smoke coming from a local business. Widener didn’t hesitate. He pulled into the parking lot and went to work, using his training to evacuate and account for everyone in the building, including a woman he found confused and disoriented in a second-floor room filling with smoke.

For his actions, Widener was named Firefighter of the Year at the Alaska Fire Service Awards banquet held late last month at the Alaska Fire Conference in Ketchikan. And he wasn’t alone.
  • Department of Public Safety Rural Fire Training Coordinator Lisa Shield was recognized as Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year for her extraordinary commitment to the development and implementation of fire prevention and safety programs for Alaska’s rural communities.
  • The Ken Akerley Fire Service Leadership Award went to Anchorage Fire Department Deputy Chief Brian Keene for his work to restructure the Operations Division from a primarily fire response staffing model to a broader focus on the delivery of EMS which represents the majority of AFD responses.
The Annual Fire Service Awards recipients are nominated by their peers for exceptional service to their communities during the preceding year. The selection committee is made up by the award recipients from the prior year.

  Read More

Alaska State Troopers K9 Detector Academy Certifies Six New Teams

October 31, 2019 (ANCHORAGE) — Six new K9 teams, each including a dog and handler, graduated earlier this month from the Alaska State Troopers K9 Detector Academy. Only days later, one of those teams led law enforcement to the seizure of a large quantity of illegal narcotics.

The six-week-long academy, which concluded in Fairbanks on October 19, 2019, was comprised of three Alaska State Troopers K9 teams including K9 Lenox, K9 Kimmik, and K9 Blitz; Fairbanks Police Department’s K9 Diesel; Cordova Police Department’s K9 Eyak; and North Slope Borough Police Department’s K9 Millie. The graduates are now certified for drug detection work.

To receive certification, drug detection dogs undergo rigorous training focusing on scent detection abilities to prepare them for a broad range of situations. Meanwhile, handlers must complete a comprehensive exam to test their knowledge of dog psychology, training philosophy, and handling.

The academy’s training paid off right away when K9 Lenox, named for fallen Trooper Gabriel Lenox Rich, helped a narcotics team locate and seize a large amount of methamphetamine and heroin with a combined street value of about $50,000. A loaded handgun and a vehicle were also seized. It was K9 Lenox’s first deployment.

 “They do things we can’t do all by ourselves,” said Troopers K9 Instructor Sgt. Joel Miner of the dogs.

The next training phase for the Troopers K9 teams and the Fairbanks team is Patrol Dog Academy which focuses on tracking, apprehension, and handler protection.

To see Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit K9 drug statistics, visit
  Read More