AK DOC Today

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

Chaplain Duncan Meets Former CO and Crime Writer Ron Walden

Photo of Walden and Duncan

Former CO and author Ron Walden, left, sits with Chaplain Jim Duncan

Ron Walden retired from the Department of Corrections in 1990 but he did not stay retired long.  Alyeska Pipeline Security hired Ron and sent him to the North Slope.  While in his downtime he read a few crime novels (Grisham, Koon, Cusler and Patterson) and the light bulb went on.  Ron started writing a novel that included the line, pigs and politics.  The pilot, turned CO III, turned Pipeline Security officer was now exploring writing for the first time.  Success did not come quickly.  Ron and I met several years ago at Soldotna’s Moose Is Loose Bakery.  While nursing a couple of world renowned fritters I asked Ron how he got started:

Q:  When did your writing skills begin to manifest?

Ron:  I never wrote anything but on the job reports.  Writing was never on my radar until I went to work on the slope.  My first book showed it.  It took 5 years to complete.

Q:  What is it about writing that inspires you?
Ron:  I enjoy the research.  I spent several years in North Dakota to write Devils Heart.  I can get lost in researching.

Q.  Cinch Knot was inspired by your work for Alyeska, which one is inspired by your work in Corrections?
Ron:  (Ron laughs) I suspect all of them.  All those years of listening to some really good WCC inmate stories gives you good fodder.  The stories are always fiction but I like to embed true facts.  I want to make it as believable as fiction can be.  Naturally I weave in some of the great eating establishments in South Central Alaska, (i.e. Moose Is Loose, Froso’s, Fat Olives, Duncan House, Gwinnies and a unnamed Mexican chain in Anchorage).

Q:  What advice would you give an unpublished writer?
Ron:  First, be dedicated to writing or your story will lose continuity.  Second, be dedicated to getting it published.  Eleven rejections will take some wind out of your sales.  My break came when I found a hungry publisher.  I became his fourth book and they have published 7 of my books out of their 400 publications.  (Publication Consultants)

Q.  What’s the hardest part of writing?
Ron:  Simply page two.  You have to hook the reader with page one and then keep them hooked from page two through page 300.  That is tough. 

(One of Ron’s retired trooper friends sits down and adds, “Ron’s hardest part is keeping his crayons sharp.”  We all laugh.  Ron attracts a good sense of humor.)

Q:  You killed off a Duncan in Poacher’s Paradise and my dad takes ownership of that character.  Do you have room for any characters we might know of in a future book?
Ron:  (Ron laughs and pauses with a smile.)  You will just have to buy the book. 

Ron’s books can be found at Amazon and local book stores.  This chaplain can endorse all of them as good wholesome adventure/crime novels set in Alaska.  The prison libraries have some copies.

Facilities Honored for Annual Directors Audit Performance

Four facilities were honored for the result received in this year’s Annual Directors Audit. Plaques were presented during the opening session of the Supervisor’s Conference At the Training Academy in Palmer. The No. 1 award went to Wildwood Correctional Center for large facilities and Ketchikan Correctional Center for smaller facilities. Runner-up awards went to Goose Creek Correctional Center and Mat-Su Pretrial (large, small facilities, respectively.) The awards were presented by Director Bryan Brandenburg and Deputy Director Lee Sherman.

Seven from DOC Attend APSC Field Training Officer Class

Photo of APSC trainees

L-R: Tom Karpow, Instructor Denny, Chad Brooks, Andrea Kuckertz, Matthew Posey, Bethanne Courson, Jeremy Angel, Cary Quiring and Caroline Stevens

During the week of June 16-20th seven participants from Department of Corrections attended a Field Training Officer class sponsored by APSC. While attending this training session students learned a variety of training techniques concerning coaching, documentation, learning styles, and remedial efforts to enhance the learning experience for new employees. These individuals now possess the skills and knowledge to facilitate a solid training program in probation/parole and institutions. Efforts to expand training to new FTO’s and the development of a formal program are underway. Congratulations to those seven who graduated from the class. Please feel free to talk to them and pick their brain concerning any FTO ideas, concerns or just good information that they received from the training. Those who attended from the Anchorage Field Probation Office were Tom Karpow PO III and Andrea Kuckertz PO II. Those attending from the institution side of the house were Cary Quiring CO III and Bethanne Courson CO II both from Spring Creek. Jeremy Angel CO II, Chad Brooks CO III and Matthew Posey CO III from Goose Creek.

— PO III Caroline Stevens

DOC Participates in Police Memorial, Arrival of Honor Flag

On Friday, May 9th the annual Police Memorial Day ceremony took place in Anchorage. Sixty-five names have been placed on the memorial outside the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory. A bell was tolled each time a name was read representing each fallen officer. The memorial was very moving with Amazing Grace being played with bagpipes, a 21 gun salute, and Taps preformed at the end. It was a beautiful day and hundreds arrived to show their respects. Earlier, FCC Sgt. Daniel Colang participated in ceremonies marking the arrival of the U.S. Honor Flag in Fairbanks.

Correctional Officers ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’

On Saturday April 26th, Officers from the Alaska Department of Corrections participated in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault, and gender violence. All eight Correctional Officers donned a pair of high heels for this opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes and effects of sexualized violence. Organized by ACC Correctional Officer Tommy Quinlan, $1,100 was raised to donate to this worthy cause.

Participating were: Officers Tommy Quinlan, Adam Rocheleau, Andrew Busch, Ryan Krieger, Sandi Smith; Chris Harrington; and Justin Clawson, all from ACC, and Officer Bret Wrigglesworth from Goose Creek.

— Lt. Rebecca Cowart-Wilkerson

DOC Honor Guard Provides Vigil at Denali Awards Ceremony

Photo of 2014 Denali Awards DOC Honor Guard vigil

The Department of Corrections Honor Guard stood at attention beside the photos of fallen Alaska State Troopers Sgt. Patrick “Scott” Johnson and Gabriel “Gabe” Rich at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium. The DOC Honor Guard included, from left: Sgt. Troy Eberline from Goose Creek Correctional Center, Sgt. John Ellingwood, Anchorage Correctional Complex, and Correctional Officer Jeff Reichel, Palmer Correctional Center.

DOC Staff Honored at 2014 Peak Performance Denali Awards

Six Department of Corrections staff members were honored at the 2014 Governor’s Denali Peak Performance Awards ceremony Thursday, May 8th at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium in Anchorage. Receiving Denali Awards were: CO II Jessica Radlinski (Goose Creek Correctional Center), honorable mention, Crisis Responder; Sgt. John Cox (Spring Creek Correctional Center), honorable mention, Co-Worker Recognition; and the Anchorage Correctional Complex East Reception team (Tamika Anderson, Iman Josey, Jayda Karren and Lisa Williams), Customer Service Excellence. The awards were presented by Commissioner Joe Schmidt. In presenting the award certificates, the Commissioner said:

Of Sgt. John Cox: “Sergeant Cox began his career with the Department of Corrections in October 1999 as a Correctional Officer I.  In 2007 he promoted to Sergeant, and in 20008 his duties were expanded to Shift Sergeant where he supervised the Segregation Unit and Maximum Custody prisoners.  During his career Sergeant Cox served as a Tactical Team member and leader, and Weapons Range Officer.  In February, he was honored by his peers as Employee of the Month. Sergeant Cox is nominated for this award because he has always helped out when ever and where ever needed.  He is approachable and willing to listen to other opinions or ideas and implement them if they offer a better solution.  He is very organized and makes sure his work space is ready for other staff to work in.  He would put himself on the line for a fellow officer and stand in harm’s way to protect his shift and co-workers. Sergeant Cox is known by his co-workers as a hard charger, mission oriented “can do” guy.  He is also a considerate and fair.  His demonstrated competence and leadership abilities serve as an inspiration for others to emulate, all which contributes furthering the Department of Corrections mission.  Sergeant Cox’s dedication to duty and demonstrated competence reflects great credit upon himself, the Department of Corrections and the State of Alaska.” 

Of the ACC East Reception team: “Tamika Anderson has been a Department of Corrections family member for close to ten years; Lisa Williams has been with the Department of seven years while Iman Josey and Jayda Karren are relative newcomers to the Department. The ACC East Reception team was nominated in the category of Customer Service Excellence.  Tamika Anderson’s leadership brings a safe, friendly and compassionate environment to a facility that can be frustrating and stressful for visitors. She and her team continually demonstrate a commitment to superior customer service while using an extensive knowledge of department policy and procedure. Lisa Williams brings a sense of humor and often brings a smile to the face of a visitor. Iman Josey, who has been on the job about a year is firm, consistent and friendly. Jayda Karren is new to the position and is eager to learn new things and advance in the Department. The ACC East Reception Team consists of exceptional employees who are trained to deal with sometimes difficult situations in a calm, patient and professional manner.  Their knowledge of facility procedures and exceptional problem-solving skills are put to use daily in assisting Alaskans who are visiting the Anchorage Correctional Complex East.”

Of CO II Jessica Radlinski: “Correctional Officer Jessica Radlinski began her career with the Department of Corrections in August, 2012. She trained for three months at Palmer Correctional Center before transferring to her present duty station at Goose Creek Correctional Center where she works in Master Control. As Officer Radlinski was driving home after completing a 12-hour night shift, she came upon a single vehicle accident. Moments before Officer Radlinski arrived, a vehicle swerved to avoid a moose and had turned on its side in deep snow. Two women in the vehicle were conscious but were unable to exit the vehicle without assistance from Officer Radlinski. After calling 9-1-1 Officer Radlinski provided shelter for the two passengers and rerouted approaching traffic until assistance arrived.  Jessica is known by her co-workers as a hard charger that insists on attention to detail, especially when she is training new officers. She is also known for her pleasant voice and calm demeanor when communicating by radio.

The nomination period of the 2015 Denali Awards opens around Christmas.