Press Releases

 02/20/15 DPS PR #15-004

VPSOs To Attend 15-week Alaska Law Enforcement Training For First Time

(SITKA, Alaska) – For the first time in the almost 40-year history of the Village Public Safety Officer Program, 10 VPSOs will start the 15-week Alaska Law Enforcement Training (ALET) in Sitka on Sunday alongside state and municipal officers. With few exceptions, municipal law enforcement agencies send their police recruits through ALET at the Public Safety Training Academy, considered the premier law enforcement training academy in the state. Now that will include 10 VPSOs who along with eight Alaska State Troopers, three Alaska Wildlife Troopers, three State Park Rangers, one Fairbanks International Airport Police and Fire Officer and 20 municipal law enforcement will receive more than 900 hours of training on topics that are necessary to receive certification by the Alaska Police Standards Council. This training meets and exceeds the minimum standards to be a VPSO.

VPSOs graduating ALET on June 5 will not be immediately certified to carry firearms in the course of their duties. Instead, they will have the opportunity to be armed once they fulfill the VPSO certification requirements of being employed as a VPSO for one year and meet the minimum arming standards of passing a physical fitness test, psychological evaluation and background requirements. A separate VPSO Arming Pilot program, set to begin at the academy in March, is designed to provide firearms training for those VPSOs who meet the requirements and have opted to be armed.

The 10 VPSOs attending ALET had to pass a physical fitness test and have the full support of their employers, the nine regional non-profits and Northwest Arctic Borough, in order to go through the training to become certified peace officers. The group is a mixture of new and already working VPSOs from throughout the state. During the ALET session, the VPSO Program will provide mentoring troopers and VPSOs in addition to the normal temporarily assigned Training Assistance and Counseling (TAC) officers that give ALET students an opportunity to seek guidance and receive mentorship about what the job is like in the field.

The VPSO Program was started in the late 1970s to train and employ individuals residing in the village as first responders to public safety emergencies such as search and rescue, fire protection, emergency medical assistance, crime prevention and basic law enforcement. In the past, VPSOs went through job specific instruction either during a single 10-week block of training or attending two five-week and one two-week training phases held in Sitka or Bethel. Integrating VPSOs into the ALET, which is offered twice a year, consolidates training at the academy as well as provides advanced instruction for these first responders in the villages. The academy staff provides comprehensive and rigorous training involving academics, physical fitness, decision making and stress inoculation. Each student is challenged academically, mentally and physically to help prepare them for a law enforcement career in Alaska.

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02/05/15 DPS PR #15-003

Super Bowl Enforcement Stats

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – What a game! By now everyone knows the outcome of the most watched TV show in history. What you don’t know yet are the results of the Alaska State Troopers Super Bowl High Visibility Anti-DUI Enforcement Effort. Many of our Troopers missed watching the Super Bowl (commercials) in real time as they were hard at work keeping Alaska’s roadways safe. AST is pleased that many people had plans in place to not drive impaired while participating in game day party prepping, the big event, and after game parties. 
During the high visibility enforcement effort, which lasted from 2/01/15 @ 0001 hours through 02/02/15 @ 0600 hours, troopers did the following:

  • 4 misdemeanor DUI arrests, 0 felony DUI arrests
  • 4 drivers charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license
  • 12 REDDIs reported with 4 drivers contacted and ultimately determined not to be DUI
  • 6 damage only crashes, 2 injury crashes, and 0 fatal crashes investigated by AST
  • 169 citations were issued.  54 were issued for speeding and 19 were for seatbelt or other occupant restraint violations

Troopers encourage you to always practice safe driving behaviors when getting behind the wheel. And as always, Troopers also encourage everyone to Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately by calling 9-1-1.
Funding for the focused highway enforcement was provided in part by grant sources distributed through the Alaska Highway Safety Office.

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01/28/15 DPS PR #15-002

Whether Elated or Deflated, Only Drive Sober

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – While anxiously waiting for game day there probably isn’t much that Seahawks and Patriot fans will agree on. However, the Alaska State Troopers has a game day challenge for both sides that we believe just makes good sense. In order to keep Alaska roads as safe as possible, every Super Bowl party should include a designated driver or some other plan in place to keep all party go-ers from driving impaired. Along with that challenge to both groups of fans, the Alaska State Troopers will conduct a high visibility enforcement campaign. The goal of that campaign is to do everything possible to prevent a fatal or major injury wreck from occurring on Alaska’s roadways during the weekend of Super Bowl Sunday. While a portion of the Super Bowl parties will end with the losing side’s fan base feeling deflated, let’s all work together to prevent any roadway tragedy on game day.

Boosting public awareness regarding the dangers of impaired driving, along with other driver behavior issues, helps to decrease the number of fatal and serious injury crashes. Driving impaired, speeding, reckless driving, driver inattention and failure to wear seatbelts or use child safety restraints all contribute to injury and death on Alaska’s roads. The Alaska State Troopers, as well as local law enforcement agencies, believe that persistent public education will help deter motorists from making poor driving decisions while behind the wheel and help save lives.

The Alaska State Troopers are also running a Super Bowl Anti-DUI PSA leading up to the big day in hopes of reaching as many people as possible and encourage them to drive safely. The PSA can be viewed on our You Tube channel:  http://youtu.be/RTpC6FRoU5w  

Regardless of what your plans are on Super Bowl Sunday, Troopers encourage you to always practice safe driving behaviors on the roads while traveling to and from your destination. If you consume drugs or alcohol, plan to either stay the night or to have a sober driver take you home. Always have a plan to get home safely.

Troopers also encourage everyone to Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately by calling 9‐1‐1.

Funding for the High Visibility Enforcement campaign is provided in part by grant sources distributed through the Alaska Highway Safety Office.

PDF version of the release