by Dept. of Public Safety Staff
For the first time in employee memory, the Department of Public Safety Academy in Sitka is slated to be at capacity. Academy staff is prepared to accept up to 56 recruits from a variety of agencies. DPS is projected to have 15 Trooper recruits and four Court Services Officers attending.
Additionally, a little over twenty municipal officer recruits plan to attend along with recruits from the Village Public Safety Officer program, State Parks and Fairbanks Airport Police and Fire. This upcoming academy starts Feb. 23, 2020.
“While the academy can sleep 75 students, the limiting factor to an academy attendance is how many students and desks we can fit into our main large classroom,” stated Lt. Chad Goeden, DPS Academy Commander. “We physically can’t put an additional desk in the room and have enough space for people to move around—56 is it.”
Nationally, law enforcement agencies are facing a recruitment crisis. The past four academies have been exceptionally large with 40 or more law enforcement recruits starting each session. The next academy, starting in July, is expected to be similarly large with 25 to 30 trooper recruits alone.
“Under Governor Dunleavy’s administration, the DPS has become a competitive option to law enforcement applicants,” said Commissioner Amanda Price, Department of Public Safety. “If the DPS maintains its competitiveness and this positive hiring trend continues, not only will the trooper vacancy concerns be a thing of the past, our ranks will grow. This will put more troopers in more communities around the state and the end result will be a safer Alaska. The Governor supported public safety by introducing a budget allowing for the trooper ranks to grow, to serve rural Alaska, and for the first time in many years the DPS is able to hire and deploy more troopers to keep rural Alaskans safer.”
“It is encouraging to see so many women and men ready to devote themselves to such a noble calling,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “Please join me in thanking them and pledging to support them as they embark in a career dedicated to making Alaska safe.”