Press Releases

05/21/15 DPS PR #15-011

Keep Fire Safety in Mind This Memorial Day Weekend

The Alaska State Fire Marshal's Office wants you and your loved ones to have a safe Memorial Day weekend. This can be accomplished by using common sense and good judgement. Your Alaska lifestyle should always include fire safety. The safe burning practices will also help:

  • Keep matches and lighters out of children's reach.
  • Do not use flammable liquids to start camp fires.
  • Keep camp fires small and manageable.
  • Build camp fires at least 15 ft. from tents and other combustible materials.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Extinguish all fires completely before leaving the area.
  • When using propane barbecues, check for leaks before lighting.
  • Dispose of used charcoal in a metal container and soak with water before dumping.
  • Do not use fireworks in restricted areas.
  • Children should not use fireworks without adult supervision.
  • Report all unattended fires and unsafe fire activities to local authorities.
  • And always make sure you have functioning smoke / carbon monoxide alarms.

It is also highly recommended to visit the State-DNR Division of Forestry web site. The link below will take you to the "Burning in Alaska" and Burn Permit Program. This is where you learn about more safe burning practices and if there is a burn restriction, suspension or closure. It is also wise to check with your local fire Department


For more information contact: Michael Warzewick

Training and Education Bureau - Public Education Coordinator

645 Cope Industrial Way, Palmer, AK 99645 - Voice (907) 746-5062 - Fax (907) 745-4529

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 05/06/15 DPS PR #15-010

2015 Police Memorial Ceremonies

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska)‐ Alaska’s Police Memorial Week will begin this Friday May 8, 2015. To honor the fallen Law Enforcement Officers from across the state, there will be multiple ceremonies at various locations. Please come and show your support to the men and women who wear a badge in order to make Alaska a safer, better place and to remember those who have lost their lives in the process. This year we are saddened to be adding the names of two fallen Alaska State Troopers to the memorial. Sgt. Patrick “Scott” Johnson and Trooper Gabriel Rich were killed in the line of duty on May 1, 2014.

Anchorage: May 8, 2015. The event starts at 3pm at the Alaska State Crime Detection Laboratory on 4805 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue.
Fairbanks: May 15, 2015. The event starts at 11am and is located at the Fairbanks Police Department at 911 Cushman Street.
Juneau:  May 8, 2015. At noon there will be a wreath-laying at Evergreen Cemetery. At 5:30pm that evening there will be another ceremony at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School.

*National Police Memorial Day is recognized on May 15 every year. Alaska holds its main memorial service in Anchorage the Friday before the national memorial so families of the fallen officers can attend both events.

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05/06/15 DPS PR #15-009

Alaska Teen Traveling to Quantico

UNALASKA, Alaska— The Department of Public Safety congratulates Ms. Taylor Holman, 15 of Unalaska, for being chosen to represent Alaska at the FBI National Academy Associations (NAA) 2015 Youth Leadership Program at Quantico, Virginia. Holman was selected by the Alaska Chapter of the FBI NAA from more than a dozen applying teens from across the state. Holman will learn about ethics, integrity, leadership, emerging law enforcement trends and concerns and get to network with young future leaders from around the world.  

To be selected, a student must have demonstrated high academic standards and good citizenship, and they must be nominated by an FBINA graduate in good standing. Chapter representatives interview the candidates and select their choice to attend the program.

“We are proud to have Ms. Holman represent Alaska at the Youth Leadership Program this year,” said Terry Vrabec, President of the Alaska FBI NAA Chapter. Vrabec is also the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. “Holman really stood out to us. Between her grades, extracurricular activities and already impressive communication and leadership skills we are very excited to help her along the way to becoming a future leader in our state.”

“I know that it will be a wonderful experience for all of the students that are attending, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been selected as Alaska’s representative. I will do my very best to represent the State of Alaska well and make my community proud,” said Holman.  “I am incredibly excited for this opportunity, not only because I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, but because of the content of the program. I am involved in both school-wide and state-wide student government, and I can’t wait to take things that I will learn from the FBINAA YLP and apply them to those as well.”

For more information regarding the program, visit:

PDF version of the release

02/20/15 DPS PR #15-006

Troopers Hit The Trail Once Again For Suicide Prevention Crusade Across Alaska

Alaska Wildlife Troopers will once again hit the trail, this time snowmachining more than 1,000 miles across Alaska in two weeks in an effort to prevent suicides. This year, Alaska Wildlife Troopers Darrell Hildebrand, Thomas Akelkok and Jon Simeon, accompanied by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Officer Brad Honerlaw, plan an ambitious journey to reach adults and school children in at least 10 villages in rural Alaska. Other troopers and law enforcement will join the expedition for sections of the trek as they wind their way across the Interior to the Northwest Arctic region and back. The trip is expected to launch from Bettles on March 24 and reach Kotzebue on April 1. Allakaket will be the first school on the visit followed by schools in Hughes, Kobuk, Shungnak, Ambler, Kiana, Noorvik, Selawik and Buckland before turning around after talking to school kids in Kotzebue. If trail conditions and weather allow, the group will head home via the Kobuk River to Huslia and take the trail back through Galena and up the Yukon and Tanana rivers, stopping in schools along the way on their journey to Fairbanks. The Fish and Wildlife Service also provided a sponsorship to help cover fuel costs. You can track their progress online via a SPOT locator.

Hildebrand, Simeon and Akelkok are armed with personal stories of how suicide touched their lives. Hildebrand’s father committed suicide when he was 4-years old while Simeon’s friend took his life while he was a young man living in Aniak. The goal is to make sure people know to reach out to someone and talk about their problems – whether it’s a friend, a parent, grandparent, teacher or even troopers. It’s a message that the wildlife troopers have carried with them during outreach trips for the past five years – some of them in conjunction with the Iron Dog Suicide Prevention Campaigns. Three years ago, the three troopers started braving subzero temperatures and blowing winds to snowmachine to the different communities in rural Alaska to tell school children and community members there is always hope in the midst of despair and that suicide is preventable. Along the way they’ll hand out personalized Alaska Suicide Prevention CARELINE cards and posters.

All three grew up in rural Alaska – Hildebrand in Nulato, Simeon in Aniak and Akelkok in Ekwok – where suicide is an epidemic. The rate in Alaska has one of the highest suicide rates in nation at 23.4 suicides per 1000,000 people in 2013, according to the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council. That year, 75.5 percent of suicides in Alaska were by men. As representatives of not only law enforcement, but also Alaska Native men, they use their personal stories as proof that despite all that may go wrong in life, there’s still a way to succeed.


Note: Click on embedded links for more information and past stories. Click on the photo to link to an online folder with high-resolution photos of the three Alaska Wildlife Troopers, the Alaska CARELINE card and posters files plus a media kit with statistics from the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council.

PDF version of the release