AK DOC Today

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

DOC Share Campaign Success

The DOC Silent Auction and Alaska Potato Bar was a huge success! DOC raised $10,446.24 towards the SHARE Campaign. Thank you to all that participated. We would like to send a special thank you to Phil Cole for all of his hard work and for reaching out to the community for the silent auction items that were so generously donated.

Recruiting and PR

During the last week the Department of Corrections Training Academy had the pleasure of participating in two public relations/recruiting events. The first was the Alaska Federation of Native Conference held at the Dena’ina Convention Center in downtown Anchorage. This is the largest gathering of Native peoples in the United States. The AFN Convention usually has anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 attendees each year. Department of Corrections was happy to share booth space with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. With our combined efforts we were able to provide information to the public concerning available career opportunities with DOC and throughout the state. This was also a prime opportunity to engage the public in conversation concerning reentry practices. Overall, our representatives at the booth reported very positive experiences with those who stopped to chat.
Our second event this week took place yesterday October 21, 2015 at UAA Campus. Department of Corrections participated in the 8th Annual Women in Law Enforcement Recruitment Fair. Local, State and federal law enforcement agencies gathered with the goal of actively recruiting female candidates. This was a great opportunity to meet and discuss career opportunities in a casual setting. Events like these impact public opinion in a positive way providing information and career opportunities to those in our community. We would like to thank all the participants that came out to assist with both events. With the aid of our field offices, institutions, medical and support staff, these events continue to be successful.

Alaska Dispatch Job Fair

On Wednesday, September 16, 2015, The Alaska Dispatch News held a job fair at the Alaska Airlines Center located on the UAA campus in Anchorage. Department of Corrections had a booth staffed with professionals from the medical division, probation/parole division and training division.

Partnering with UAA provided an opportunity for our department to seek out a very diverse pool of potential applicants. While working at the booth our employees represented DOC as very knowledgeable professionals that take pride in their career choices. Foot traffic in the arena provided great opportunity for exposure and allowed our representatives to provide information about positions currently available within our department and explain how to apply through Workplace Alaska.

It is the volunteer participants that make these events so successful and help foster a positive image of Corrections with our community.

Consider Nominating a Coworker for a Peak Performance Denali Award

The nomination period for the 2015 GOVERNOR’S PEAK PERFORMANCE DENALI AWARDS is now open. Please consider nominating a coworker for this prestigious award! The Department of Corrections has been well-represented in past years by Denali Award nominees and honorees. The nomination period closes February 13th. Nominating a co-worker is not difficult: the first step is to:

  1. Download a nomination form at this link: http://doa.alaska.gov/dop/denaliAwards/forms/. There are six award categories: Co-Worker Recognition, Customer Service Excellence, Exceptional Performance, Crisis Responder, Innovation in Cost-saving and Leadership. In two categories (Customer Service Excellence and Exceptional Performance) there are separate team and individual categories. The criteria that is used to determine category winners and honorable mentions is here:  http://doa.alaska.gov/dop/denaliAwards/scoringCriteria/.
  2. The next step is to complete the form and write a short description explaining the reasons for the nomination. Here is a link to view examples of completed nomination forms: http://doa.alaska.gov/dop/fileadmin/DenaliAwards/nominationExamples2011.pdf.
  3. Each nomination must be signed by the Commissioner, your Division Director, and, if you work at Correctional Facility, first initialed by the Superintendent. You can forward the nomination to the Division Director as a scanned attachment to an email, or you can send it to Kay Hoover who will make sure it is forwarded for signature. Do not hesitate to contact the department rep if you have any questions or would like some feedback on your nomination form.

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