Press Releases

05/26/17 DPS PR# 17-013

Alaska State Trooper Detector Canine Academy 2017 Graduates

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – After completing a six week AST K-9 Detector Academy, ending on May 26, 2017, five K-9 teams are now certified for drug detection work. Equipping communities around the state with drug dogs is part of Governor Bill Walker’s Safer Alaska initiative and now AST will have six certified dog teams in drug detection, three detector only dogs and 3 dual-purpose (Detector and Patrol).  Department of Corrections will have one detector dog team.

The certification is considered one of the most difficult in the world due to the number of searches and use of 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 who have certified in the past. The same is true for the handlers. 

The K-9 Teams are:
Investigator Joel Miner and K9 MOCHA - DEA Task Force Anchorage
Investigator Larry Dur'an and K9 Misty Ketchikan SDEU
Investigator Andrew Ballesteros and K9 Mak MatSu SDEU
Trooper Daron Cooper and K9 Blazer MatSu Patrol
Trooper Andy Deveaux and K9 Skippy MatSu Patrol
Trooper Christine Joslin and K9 Scout Fairbanks Patrol
Officer Joshua Wood and K9 Koda - Department of Corrections 

Inv. Miner and Inv. Dur'an are certified as Canine Instructors for AST at the conclusion of this academy. Both of their dogs, K9 MOCHA and K9 Misty certified on April 6, 2017. Inv. Miner and K9 MOCHA have conducted 15 searches in 50 days, resulting in seizures of:  87.6 grams of Heroin, 470.6 grams of Cocaine, 3,820.53 grams of Methamphetamine, $42,342.00 in cash, 3 guns, 150 Oxycodone pills, 8 grams of psylicibin mushrooms and 1 gram of LSD.

K9 Misty was out of commission for a while for spade surgery after the first academy concluded and has had the opportunity to conduct one search with a seizure of $10,000.00 in cash and a small amount of controlled substance.

PDF Version of Release


05/26/17 DPS PR #17-011b

Troopers Halfway Through Memorial Day Weekend CIOT Campaign

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – The Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers are halfway through the Annual Memorial Day Weekend Click It or Ticket High Visibility Enforcement Effort which started June 4.
From 5/15/2017 thru 5/25/2017, troopers conducted the following investigations:

  • 16 drivers charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license.
  • 64 REDDIs reported with 16 drivers contacted and ultimately determined not to be DUI.
  • 25 damage only crashes, 4 injury crashes and 0 fatal collisions investigated by troopers.
  • Of the 623 citations issued, 259 were for speeding and 71 issued for seatbelt or other occupant restraint violations.

The main focus of the National Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign is to save lives. AST hopes motorists drive safely throughout the High Visibility Enforcement campaign and the rest of the summer.  Wearing seatbelts saves lives and goes a long way to protect all vehicle occupants from being seriously injured or killed.

Please do your part in keeping our roadways safe by not driving impaired. Additionally, don’t hesitate to make a REDDI report any time of the year by calling 911! To learn more about REDDI (Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately) visit http://www.dot.alaska.gov/stwdplng/hwysafety/REDDI.shtml.

Funding for the High Visibility Enforcement Campaign was funded by grants distributed by the Alaska Highway Safety Office.

PDF Version of Release


05/18/17 DPS PR #17-012

Alaska Police Standards Council Addresses Possession, Distribution, and Cultivation of Marijuana by Officers

(Juneau, Alaska) - In February of 2015, following the legalization of recreational marijuana in Alaska, the Alaska Police Standards Council (APSC) examined the applicable state regulations prohibiting certified police, correction, probation/parole, and municipal corrections officers from using or consuming marijuana and determined by a unanimous vote that the regulations should and would remain unchanged. 

In its statewide meeting on May 3, 2017, the Council determined, by unanimous vote, that possession, distribution and/or cultivation of marijuana by certified police, correction, probation/parole, and municipal corrections officers, is prohibited under applicable state regulations – even by an officer licensed by the Alaska Marijuana Control Board to possess, distribute, and/or cultivate marijuana.  The Council also determined, by unanimous vote that the regulations should and would remain unchanged. 

The Council at both the February 2015 and May 2017, meetings reaffirmed the principle that the use, possession, distribution, and/or cultivation of marijuana are incompatible with the law enforcement profession.

When establishing the Council in 1972, the Alaska Legislature authorized it to set minimum standards which officers must meet to be able to serve as officers in Alaska. The Council has never wavered from the principle of prohibiting persons who violate the law (state, federal, or local) by using, possessing, or distributing, or cultivating controlled substances to serve as law enforcement officers in Alaska.

Current regulations prohibit all classes of certified officers in Alaska from illegally manufacturing, transporting, selling or using controlled substances.  The Council’s decision recognizes that, regardless of Alaska’s referendum legalizing recreational marijuana, it is still illegal under federal law.  Officers engaged in cultivation or sale of marijuana, even with a license from the State of Alaska, are still violating federal law.  Also under federal law, individuals who use, manufacture, or sell drugs cannot legally possess firearms; tools considered required for many criminal justice professions.

“While we do not have any current cases involving this conduct, in light of Alaskans’ proud entrepreneurial spirit, the council felt it may be only a matter of time before a certified officer considered pursuing a license to possess, distribute, or cultivate marijuana in Alaska,” stated Bob Griffiths, the Executive Director APSC.  “The Council decided to send a loud and clear message to those officers considering such an endeavor, that this activity was inconsistent with the ethics of professional law enforcement and is prohibited under current state regulations.”   

“The direction given by the Council was clear,” said Griffiths, “If a certified officer engages in the cultivation and/or sale of marijuana, the Council will immediately act to revoke his or her certificate.  Revocation of certification results in the officer being barred from serving as an officer for any agency in Alaska.”

In its history, APSC has revoked the certifications of nine officers for drug related misconduct and revoked, or disqualified from certification, 163 officers for a wide variety of other misconduct, Griffiths said.

Contact: Bob Griffiths, APSC 907-465-5523 or bob.griffiths@alaska.gov
REF: AS 18.65.130-290, 13 AAC 85.010 thru 13 AAC 89.150

PDF Version of Release