Press Releases

02/11/16 DPS PR #16-008

Kodiak Troopers Arrest Men on Burglary Spree

(KODIAK, Alaska) – Alaska State Troopers, with assistance from Alaska Wildlife Troopers, were able to arrest two men on Feb. 9 who were responsible for multiple burglaries in the Kodiak area. Between August 2015 and January 2016, 11 residential burglaries occurred outside of Kodiak city limits, some as far out as the Bell Flats area.
 The thieves, identified as Kodiak residents Shay Monkiewics, 20, and Justin Isadore, 18, were both indicted on Feb. 8 for about 30 counts each of felony burglary and theft charges by a Kodiak Grand Jury. Both were also charged with criminal mischief relating to damage they caused to private property while breaking in. They were arrested separately the next day. Monkiewics turned himself in at the court house while Isadore was taken into custody at a family member’s home. During their crime spree, the men mostly acquired firearms.
 “Up to 30 firearms— handguns, shotguns and rifles – were taken,” Trooper Brock Simmons, a patrol trooper at the Kodiak post, said. “They also picked up some cash and expensive jewelry. One victim said a ring was valued at about $10,000.”
 Monkiewics and Isadore appear to have selected victims that were known to them. “They were all people that the defendants knew through the school system or friends and family members,” Trooper Simmons said. “They also knew when these people wouldn’t be home or were out of town. They knew or had a good idea of what items they wanted to steal before they broke in. These were not random cases. The homes were targeted.”
 A handful of guns were recovered from a site where they were buried at in the Gibson Cove area, but most are yet to be recovered. Victims have provided troopers with serial numbers, photos or detailed descriptions of their guns in the hopes that they are found and ultimately returned to them.
“We have put in a lot of time on this case, and there is still a lot of work to be done. Hopefully that includes returning stolen property when it is found,” said Trooper Simmons. “At the very least, the arrests bring closure to several residential burglaries that tormented people’s sense of security around the community.”
This case would not have come to fruition as seamlessly as it did without the support of the victims and the community. A number of tips regarding the burglaries came to troopers through the local Crime Stoppers Tip line at 907-486-3113. For more information regarding Crime Stoppers in the Kodiak area, visit  http://www.kodiakcrimestoppers.com/.

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02/10/16 DPS PR #16-007

New Unit Augments Fairbanks Patrol

(FAIRBANKS, Alaska) – In order to put more emphasis on solving property crimes and returning stolen property to its rightful owner, in November of 2015 D Detachment set up the Special Projects Unit (SPU), based in Fairbanks. D Detachment is the largest detachment within the Division of Alaska State Troopers, with the current case load, Troopers have had to think outside of the box to efficiently and effectively handle cases that otherwise could go to the wayside due to the lack of time or the inability to track down leads.

“Fairbanks post is one of the areas where new recruits come in to learn the ropes of Patrol. They have a lot of incidents they handle and don’t have the time to compare burglaries with the same MO or they might not have the experience yet to pick up on telling nuances,” said Sergeant Jess Carson, one of the troopers working SPU. “We have three guys in this unit with 30 years of experience between us. We can review patrol trooper incident reports and find areas to help them close out their case or make bigger and better cases if we see connections to other incidents.”

SPU is comprised of one patrol sergeant and two patrol troopers. They have vast experience working in Narcotics, Bureau of Highway Patrol, Major Crimes, Homicide, and rural communities. Since being formed November 16th 2015 the Special Projects Unit assisted with 14 arrest warrants, patrols of high volume burglary areas, the recovery of approximately 93 firearms, four snow machines , five vehicles, two trailers, a John Deere backhoe, and additional stolen items to include tools, computers, and miscellaneous personal items. In total the Fairbanks SPU, with the assistance of Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, and Patrol, helped recover approximately $190,000 in stolen Items. SPU further assisted in two motor vehicle fatality investigations, and seized cocaine, marijuana, prescription pills, psilocybin mushrooms, heroin and methamphetamine.

“The unit isn’t just for property crimes, we are here to help patrol with whatever issues come up,” said Sergeant Carson. “Right now, property crimes are the big problem. If in a few weeks we have problems with people speeding in school zones, we’ll shift our schedules around and help patrol out with that. If presentations need to be done at schools or various military and civilian groups, we’ll handle those too. If a trooper needs help getting and servicing a search warrant— we’re on it.”

The troopers in the unit communicate regularly with other detachments and agencies to see if they are potentially working cases with the same people involved or have other similarities. If so, they can coordinate parallel investigations for a better outcome. By attending weekly meetings with the drug unit and meeting monthly with other agencies, they can also help identify cases that are connected to potentially larger crime circles that cover larger areas of the state.

SPU has given five public presentations to the community of Fairbanks and worked with local residents in an effort to prevent further burglaries and other property crimes. Additionally, SPU is working toward assisting with the creation of several local Neighborhood Watch programs and implementing an Impact Teen Driving program that has been hugely successful in California.

No additional funding was needed to establish this unit as it reallocates existing patrol resources and serves to assist patrol troopers where they need help the most. Instead of initiating their own cases, SPU is looking at stalled cases from different angles or helping a trooper that is struggling with the work load of a case and easing their burden. “If anything, we are saving money by sometimes eliminating the need for overtime.” Sergeant Carson said. “If an investigation needs to move quickly and a trooper is struggling to get all the relevant information together for a warrant, we can take over, get the warrant, do the search and hand over a neat report for the patrol trooper to supplement their case with.”

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02/09/16 DPS PR #16-006

UAA Releases Study on Domestic Violence and Sex Assault/Sexual Abuse of Minor Cases

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – The evaluation of criminal justice processes from a bird’s eye perspective is difficult for law enforcement and prosecution agencies to undertake. In 2013, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Department of Law (Law) partnered with the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC) housed at the University of Alaska Anchorage to do just that. The AJSAC was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics to complete the Alaska Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Case Processing Project: Descriptive Analysis of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Incidents Closed by the Alaska State Troopers: 2008 – 2011. The intention of DPS’ collaboration with the university is to embrace and learn from the results from the study ─ a step towards data-driven policymaking and maximizing the use of very limited departmental resources.

The results of the project have potential implications in a number of arenas including resource allocation, training for criminal justice professionals, as well as prevention work:
• Sample assessment and analysis of sexual assault/sexual abuse of minor (SA/SAM) and domestic violence (DV) case investigations closed by the Alaska State Troopers in calendar years 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
• Nearly 1/3 of all SA/SAM cases analyzed came from the Yukon-Kuskokwim region of Alaska with Bethel Enforcement having investigated 24% of them; Alaska Bureau of Investigations units across the state investigated another 38% of all SA/SAM cases.
• Palmer Enforcement and Fairbanks Enforcement comprised nearly 39% of all DV cases examined
• Average age of SA/SAM suspects was about 31.8 years of age, while the average age of the SA/SAM victims was 17.8 years of age.
• The average age of both DV suspects and DV victims was 32.1 years of age.
• Overall SA/SAM and DV incidents were likely to involve victims and suspects belonging to the same racial/ethnic group.
• About 60% of sex crime cases referred for criminal charges by DPS were declined by Department of Law at the screening level; 76% of the cases that were accepted resulted in a conviction.
• About 83% of domestic violence cases referred to Department of Law were accepted; about 79% of those cases accepted resulted in a conviction. • The study also supported what many domestic violence and sexual assault professionals already know ─ these are not issues of “stranger danger,” which is what children and youth until recent years were being prepared against. Someone is much more likely to be assaulted by someone they know and trust than by a stranger. Stranger sexual assault accounts for less than 5% of Alaska State Troopers’ sexual assault cases.

DPS and Law look forward to continued collaboration with the University of Alaska Anchorage. Meaningful assessments of the services the departments offer the public is vital to progress.
The study’s principal investigator, Dr. Brad Myrstol, welcomes any questions pertaining to the study’s methodology. Copies of the full report can be accessed on the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center’s website (www.uaa.alaska.edu/ajsac).

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