AK DOC Today

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

Department Shares National Award for Housing Partnership

COSCDA Award

Thanks to active collaboration between Department of Corrections Adult Probation/Parole Officers and the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, the State of Alaska Housing Finance Agency was awarded the 2012 COSCDA Sterling Achievement Award for Homelessness for its Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) Program for Former Prisoners.

Parole/ Probation officers provide referrals to AHFC which processes the referral according to the program rules. Probation / Parole Officers act as a point of contact for the household, landlord and the AHFC Public Housing staffs. TBRA is offered throughout Alaska in eleven locations. Individuals that are on DOC probation or parole that will lease-up in the HOME/ Housing Choice Voucher service area are eligible to apply.

The AHFC Public Housing Division conducts the income eligibility determinations and conducts the briefing class for TBRA participants and their Probation/Parole Officers. Unit approval, inspections and renewals are conducted using the existing Housing Choice Voucher administrative infrastructure.

Palmer DOC Staff join Palmer Law Enforcement in Torch Run

Department of Corrections staff joined a field of approximately 150 participants in the annual fund-raising run for Special Olympics. The field raised approximately $7,100 so far for Special Olympics Alaska from the valley event alone. This is now two years in a row where we have had substantial participation and double that of previous years. Our run in the valley was just one of 13 runs held simultaneously around the state that so far this year have raised $82,658.00 for Special Olympics Alaska. We are still waiting for the totals from three of those runs so we very well may have topped $100,000.00 this year. It was great to see DOC out there raising money for such a good cause!

Department of Corrections staff receive Peak Performance Denali Awards

The Department of Corrections was well-represented in the annual Governor’s Peak Peformance Denali Awards, which were presented May 11 at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium in Anchorage. Commissioner Joe Schmidt announced the winners while Nancy Dahlstrom of the Governor’s Office presented the awards. The Department of Corrections had two winners: The Anchorage Field Probation Office (Keith Thayer and Dwayne Hanson) was honorable mention in the Crisis Responder, Team Award; and, the Critical Incident Stress Management Team (Gloria Johnson, Theresa Warfield, Doug Lindsay, Ceylon Mitchell, Adam Rutherford and Brandon Jones) was honorable mention, Customer Service Excellence team award.

Director Ron Taylor addresses ‘Choose Respect’ Rally in Nenana

Ron Taylor, Director of the Division of Probation and Parole, along with Gail Brimner with the department’s Victim Services Unit attended the ‘Choose Respect’ rally on Thursday March 29 in Nenana. About 400 of the community’s 600 residents took part, with Director Taylor addressing the gathering. Hosting the event was 18-year-old Brianna Ketzler who obtained a grant for blue t-shirts to distribute to participating students and community members. The community hosted a pot-luck after the event.

Kodiak Probation Officer works with local police K9 ‘Max’

In cases where offenders have search conditions that include a search for controlled substances, Kodiak Probation Officer Jill Bunting sometimes requests the assistance of the Kodiak Police Department K-9 Unit (which consists of Officer Mike Barnett and Max the K-9). Utilizing the K-9 for searches for controlled substances greatly reduces the amount of time that it takes to search.

“It makes us much more efficient with our use of time,” said Bunting. “Typically we meet at the station to discuss the offender, the location, the residence itself, the vehicles, and the other subjects who reside at that location. After the planning has been done and we report to the offender’s residence, Officer Barnett interviews the offender about some safety issues that could affect Max (harmful products he might encounter for instance). When the residence has been cleared of any safety issues, Officer Barnett works with Max while I interview the offender.”

The K-9 Unit is used to conduct searches of residences, vehicles, and outbuildings. Once the established areas have been searched by Max, if he has indicated on anything, then Officer Barnett and PO III Bunting hand search the areas of indication in order to locate any controlled substances.

“There have been instances where door panels have been removed from vehicles and the controlled substances were located behind them. Max is extremely agile, able to get atop tables and other structures with ease,” Bunting said. “Having the benefit of only hand searching the areas where we know, based upon Max’s indication, that there are in fact controlled substances, allows us more time to conduct home visits and accomplish other work as we do not have to spend time hand searching the entire location.”

Max is a Belgian Malinois.

Kenai Probation Officers praised for critical support provided in Troopers’ bust of Oxy ring

The Alaska State Troopers offered kudos to the Kenai Probation Office for their assistance in support of a sweeping take-down of a large-scale Oxycontin ring operating on the Kenai Peninsula, with street sales placed at $1.2 million. Specifically cited were:

  • PO II Paul Scott
  • PO II Eric Einerson
  • PO II William Fenske
  • PO III Ruben Foster

The DPP Officers joined three arrest teams during a 12-hour period. “It became immediately obvious that without your assistance, the operation would have been much more difficult,” wrote Col. Keith Mallard of the Alaska State Troopers. “Because of your unique knowledge of local offenders and their associates, each time when we experienced what would normally have been a dead end, you or one of your officers would provide a new location to check. More often than not, the suspect was located because of this.

“Your performance on duty is in the finest tradition of the Department of Corrections and reflects the professional character of the officers of Adult Probations.”

New Probation Officer takes oath in Ketchikan

Probation Officer Kasey Lau was formally sworn in on July 27 at her new post in Ketchikan. She was given the oath by Ketchikan Superior Court Judge Trevor Stephens.

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PO I Lau graduated from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in social work and form Muskegon Community College in Muskegon, Michigan with an associate’s degree in science and arts with a major in criminal justice. Officer Lau’s prior experience includes managing a professional hospital security department for eight years, and helping with a community’s emergency management disaster preparedness events and training.

Officer Lau is new to Southeast Alaska having lived previously in Wasilla.

Probation Officers step up in emergency situation

On March 17 Probation Officers Neil Fulks and Eileen Farrar were following leads on an offender who had absconded when they overheard a police report indicating a medical emergency on the same street they were on. Listening to the dispatcher, they heard an individual had stopped breathing at which point they broke from their field work and rushed to the residence. Through training, they cleared the individual’s airway and the person started breathing again. It is clear they did an outstanding job being aware of their location and the radio traffic, and then responding to an emergency situation.

— reported by Chief Probation Officer Keith Thayer

Charles Moses honored for Parole Board service

Charles Moses was celebrated upon his retirement from the Board of Parole on April 6th in Anchorage. Moses was appointed by Governor Tony Knowles in 1997 and he was appointed chair by Governor Sarah Palin in 2008. Previously, Moses had a 25-year career with the Department of Corrections, retiring as Director of the South central Region.

Anchorage Probation Officers undertake major drug arrest

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On March 24, Probation officers from Anchorage Probation Enhanced Supervision Unit went to the residence of one of their offenders. The offender was not at home, but was seen walking down the street. He entered the residence and denied the officers access. After several minutes and a request for assistance from APD and the canine unit, the offender opened his apartment door and walked out to the probation officers. He was restrained and returned to the residence for a probation search. The search was initiated and cocaine was found in a kitchen drawer. The search was terminated and APD returned with a search warrant. The search continued and $30,000 cash and cocaine were found. The offender was remanded and the case was forwarded for new criminal offenses through either the state or federal court.

Approximately 18 months ago, officers of the same Enhanced Supervision Unit were instrumental in another drug bust and through the Asset Forfeiture program with the US Government, the Division of Probation and Parole just received $40,000 as their share of the forfeited money and assets. The Division Director and Supervisor of the ESU are currently in negotiations for how the money should or will be spent.