Cordova troopers participate in DPS rural trooper training

Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers participate in tactical training at the Palmer Police Department range in early April 2019. (Photo courtesy of Department of Public Safety/for The Cordova Times)

During the first week of April, the Department of Public Safety held its first Rural Trooper Training and saw participation from Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers from Cordova, Anchor Point, Bethel, Kotzebue, Nome, Prince of Wales, St. Mary’s and Togiak.

Training topics, all related to domestic violence and sexual assaults included tactical training, interview and interrogation, felony assaults (strangulation and child abuse), sexual assault and sexual abuse of minor investigations, responding to death investigations, technical crimes, crimes scene practicals and resiliency training.

Tactical response training was held at the Palmer Police Department range, while remaining topics were taught at the DPS Crime Lab in Anchorage.

“The topics covered in the training are taught at the Department of Public Safety Training Academy in Sitka. However, when a trooper works out in rural Alaska, they are frequently responsible for these investigations without back-up or the immediate ability to talk something through with a coworker or supervisor,” Lt. Rick Roberts said. “Instead of thinking about what immediate steps have to be taken, they are learning to think in terms of ‘What am I going to need in the next 12 hours, or with very few resources?’.”

The resiliency aspect of the training is crucial to DPS’s retention of troopers working in rural Alaska.

Managing the repeated calls for service for long periods of time can be exhausting and potentially taxing to a person’s mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.


“It is okay to seek out help and accept help,” Roberts said. “Let’s face it, what our troopers deal with on a daily basis is stressful and often heartbreaking. We want our troopers to know when and how to take care of themselves.”