AK DOC Today

News, Events, and Activities in the Alaska Department of Corrections

Employee of the Year Honored at Spring Creek

Photo of Amy Komarek and son with Superintendent Clare Sullivan and Director Bryan Brandenburg

Amy Komarek and son with Superintendent Clare Sullivan and Director Bryan Brandenburg

On Friday, June 20, 2014, the Employee Assistance Program at Spring Creek Correctional Center held a luncheon at Peking Restaurant to honor Employee of the Year, Amy Komarek. In attendance were Director Bryan Brandenburg, Criminal Justice Planner Johnnie Wallace and Chaplaincy Program Coordinator Jim Duncan, who graciously drove down to Seward to attend. The luncheon had a large turn-out, with many in attendance bringing their children, lending to a festive family-friendly atmosphere. Director Brandenburg and Superintendent Sullivan both addressed the audience with rousing speeches and Mary Sandy of the Employee Assistance Program presented Amy with her awards.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at Spring Creek Correctional Center (SCCC) would like to thank everyone who donated gifts this year: Alaska Sealife Center, American Legion Post 5, Apollo Restaurant, Bear Lake Lodgings B&B, Inc., City Express, Petro 49 Inc., Hotel Seward/Gene’s Place, Kenai Fjords Tours, Peking Restaurant, Resurrect Art Coffee House Gallery, Seward Chamber of Commerce, Seward Volunteer Fire Department, Sip N Spin, Stylin’ Stitches, and The Sea Bean Cafe.

— Assistant Superintendent Bobby Lockeby

Goose Creek SPOT Graduates Available for Adoption

Four dogs who have completed the Goose Creek Shelter Pet Obedience Training (SPOT) program are available for adoption through the Mat Su Animal Shelter with all fees paid to the shelter. Each dog’s face sheet is attached to this post. If you would like to meet a dog, call PO Dekarske at 864-8125 to arrange a meeting. After your pet receives his or her graduation certificate you will be able to take your pet home with you. The graduation ceremony will be on Thursday, June 26 at 3pm in GCCC Visitation.

The steps to adopt a dog are as follows: On Tuesday June 24 at 11:00am call the Mat Su Animal Shelter at 746-5500 and select option 2. Leave a message that you want to adopt a dog – referencing the animal number on the face sheet. The shelter will call you back to complete the adoption paperwork.

Training Academy Conducts Firearms Instructor/Range Officer Recertification

During the second week in June the DOC Training Academy conducted Firearms Instructor/Range Officer recertifications. A new 50-round DOC pistol qualification was presented to the firearms instructors. This will also be presented to the Field Division during their annual recertification in August. It was received with enthusiasm and positive comments. During this three day workshop a new shotgun range officer course was rolled out. This allows the Firearms Instructors who have successfully completed a 40 hour shotgun course to develop new Range Officers and recertify existing Range Officers. This three day workshop was the first of its kind and was well received. All 21 Firearms Instructors from across the state who attended passed with a score of 90 percent or higher. These Firearms Instructors are well trained individuals and a tremendous asset to our department. If anyone has questions regarding the DOC firearms program please seek them out and pick their brains, they are a wealth of knowledge.

— PO III Caroline Stevens

Goose Creek Hosts Prisoners, Family at Summer Festival

Photo of Goose Creek prisoners participating in Inupiaq drumming

Goose Creek prisoners participate in Inupiaq drumming

On June 14, 2014, Goose Creek Correctional Center held its first community event. Approved inmates were able to invite up to two guests. We had barbequed hamburgers and hotdogs, potato salad and beans. Community speakers and inmate entertainment rounded out the day’s events. Assistant Superintendent of Operations Kevin Horton introduced Superintendent John Conant, who gave a warm welcome. LSSAT coordinator Vicki Nisonger-Maack shared information on how LSSAT graduates become mentors. Shirley Lee from the Tanana Chief’s Conference got the crowd going and was followed by inmate Inupiaq drumming and dancing performers. The audience participated in the dancing. Community leader and former Arizona Cardinals NFL star Mao Tosi presented his amazing life journey to the crowd. The inmate Asian Pacific Islanders singing group performed some songs afterward. The speaking events were completed by Reverend Donald Jones of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Anchorage. The speakers were encouraging and inspirational. The event was well received. Both visitors and inmates enjoyed the picnic atmosphere and are looking forward to the next festival in the fall.

— Superintendent John Conant

New Path High School Sees Record Student Success

Photo of New Path High School educators

From left to right: Educators Saundra Senior, Ben Gatlin, Mary Byard and Nichelle Mauk. Not shown: Tommy Heinrich (math support)

The New Path High School, located in the Anchorage Correctional Complex, has had another very successful year with 15 students graduating and an additional 41 continuing to work toward that goal. Leading the way was a group of three students who reached the Platinum Level on the WorkKeys Assessment, which is given to all juniors and any senior that wants to work on improving his or her score. In the five years that the Anchorage School District has been administering the test only six students have reached this level. All students who re-tested passed the high school exit exam with an average increase in score of 30-plus points. A job well done by staff and students!

Academy #124 Graduates Class of 38 Correctional Officers

On Friday June 6, 2014, 38 students graduated from Correctional Officer Academy #124. The ceremony was held at the Palmer Train Depot with approximately 150 family members and friends attending. The ceremony started with the presentation of colors by the DOC Honor Guard followed by the introduction of dignitaries including Deputy Commissioner Ron Taylor and Director of Institutions Bryan Brandenburg. The class speaker was Correctional Officer Earnest Brooks from Spring Creek Correctional Complex, the class Valedictorian was Correctional Officer John Buchanan also from Spring Creek. The officers spent six weeks in the learning environment of a CO Academy During that time Officers developed friendships and bonds that will carry on throughout their careers. Some of the subjects covered in the academy included a week of shotgun training, Taser instruction, OC exposure, Officer Survival, Gang Identification and bringing all the skills together a full day of scenarios. Good luck and congratulations to all of the Officers who attended CO#124 Academy.

— PO III Caroline Stevens

DOC Represented at Correctional Peace Officers National Memorial Ceremony

Photo of Ned Entwistle, Joseph Schmidt, and Leslie Houston

Retired Correctional Officer Ned Entwistle, left, is joined by Commissioner Joe Schmidt and Deputy Commissioner Leslie Houston at the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation Annual National Memorial Service in Bellevue, Washington

Retired CO Ned Entwistle, Commissioner Joe Schmidt and Deputy Commissioner Leslie Houston represented the Department of Corrections at the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation Annual Memorial Service held Friday, June 6th in Bellevue, Washington. Seventeen fallen officers were honored at the ceremony, representing state corrections departments, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The annual memorial is held at a different location each year. Close to a dozen Honor Guards, including a bagpipe and drum corps, participated in the event.

Ketchikan COs, Anchorage POs Compete in Torch Run for Special Olympics

Photo of 2014 KCC Torch Run participants

Back row: with back obscured Carlos Rojas, Ryan Hanis, Charlie Johnson, Josh and Cody Workman, Josh Dossett all representing Ketchikan Police, Jessica Bjornstad with special Olympics, Jessica Mathews, Thomas, Ericka and Wally Rud, and Kevin Morley representing Ketchikan Correctional Center. Front row: Joey Beaudoin with daughter Arabella, in stroller Cheyenne and Savannah with mom, Raelene Beaudoin and friends representing Alaska State Troopers

The 2014 Alaska Law Enforcement Torch Run and Pledge Drive took place on Saturday, May 17th at 13 locations, including Ketchikan and Anchorage. Each year the 5-K Torch Run raises over $40 million for Special Olympics. The fund-raising goal for Alaska was $150,000. Anchorage POs Shane Cooper and Victoria Cortez put on running shoes and volunteered their time in support of Special Olympics. At the request of the Alaska State Troopers, they wore AST shirts in honor of Sgt. Johnson and Trooper Rich.

— Jessica Mathews & Keith Thayer