03/20/15 DPS PR #15-008
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
03/20/15 DPS PR #15-007
No One Caught Green Behind the Wheel
(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – The Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers did not contact a single impaired driver during the Anti-DUI High Visibility Enforcement Effort which was conducted on St. Patrick’s Day. Thank you to the people who chose to be responsible and had a plan in place to not drive impaired. However, citations were written to drivers practicing some unsafe driving behaviors.
For this High Visibility Enforcement effort troopers conducted the following investigations:
- 0 misdemeanor DUI arrests, 0 felony DUI Arrests
- 2 drivers charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license.
- 9 REDDIs reported with 2 drivers contacted and ultimately determined not to be DUI
- 12 damage only crashes, 1 injury crash and 0 fatal collisions were investigated by troopers
- Of the 106 citations issued, 62 were issued for speeding and 6 issued for seatbelt or other occupant restraint violations
Please continue doing 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 the release
02/20/15 DPS PR #15-006
Don’t Press Your Luck, Celebrate with a Sober Driver
(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – Since St. Patrick’s Day is falling on a Tuesday this year, many people are shifting their celebration to the weekend before the holiday. We hope you have a great time! However, the Alaska State Troopers would like to also take this opportunity to implore the celebrating public to make a plan ahead of time to get home safely. It is no secret that alcohol will be consumed as a part of many celebrations. If you do consume alcohol, have a plan in place to make sure you will not be behind the wheel of a vehicle. Have a sober friend on standby or arrange to stay the night in a safe location.
Troopers are airing Anti-DUI public service announcements to help spread the message encouraging sober, safe driving practices. In addition to asking the public to help be a part of the solution to ending impaired driving, Alaska State Troopers will be conducting a High Visibility Enforcement effort. During the HVE effort, Troopers will be watching out for more than driver’s exhibiting signs of impaired driving. We will also be on the lookout for speeding, reckless driving, failure to wear seatbelts or use child safety restraints, among other driving violations.
To view the current Anti-DUI PSA go to: http://youtu.be/KB9RyIRJjVw
As always, Troopers encourage you to practice safe driving behaviors when getting behind the wheel. 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.
PDF version of the release