The Alaska Academy of Public Safety at Sitka graduated another class over the weekend. The 17-week training program included the usual courses in driving, shooting, fitness and defensive tactics – and one additional class not in the course catalog: Quarantine Together.
The instructions at the Alaska Academy of Public Safety in Sitka are 100 percent about police work, but the institution’s ceremonial style is quasi-military. This involves some marching.
The 22 male and three female officers will take on duties in police departments ranging from Onalaska to Ketchikan, as well as serving as village public safety officers, park rangers and, of course, Alaska state soldiers.
A social distancing party was held at the Sitka Harrigan Centennial Hall on Saturday, November 20. Opening remarks were given by Col. Brian Barlow, director of the Alaska State Forces, who walked through the same stage by himself 22 years ago. There has never been a class (ALET Session #21-02) quite like this one, Barlow said.
“This class of 25 alumni may have had the most challenging academic experience I can remember,” Barlow said. “It was over a month ago when I got word that COVID-19 had infiltrated the academy and infected a large number of our recruits, despite our best efforts to keep it away. We can’t remember a pause in academy training more than a week in the past, but it was a necessary step. For this unique academy.It is worth noting that all employees and recruits have dealt with this unprecedented challenge in a stride and without complaint.A job in law enforcement will put each of you in front of countless challenges during your career.Challenges that you must overcome just as you did during This academy. It might not be COVID-19 or early morning exercise or testing.However, in my two-decade career in law enforcement, I’ve missed out on the number of physical and mental challenges I’ve had to overcome personally. And my career has been by no means unique. shapes”.
Barlow urged graduates to maintain their commitment to fitness, and to find friendships outside of law enforcement, in order to keep things in perspective. He said resilience has been an important part of having a successful career — especially in recent times.
“It’s a fun time doing law enforcement across the country,” Barlow said. “I know that many of you come from Lower 48, also known as America here in Alaska, and might expect a community that neither supports you nor supports your chosen job. This is not the case in our state. In Alaska, our community, elected leaders, and many Alaskans overwhelmingly support the mission the crucial task of ensuring public safety in every corner of our great state.”
Another former graduate – Commissioner of Public Safety James Cockrell – did not appear in person, but did send encouraging words. Cockrell graduated from the academy 38 years ago. He wrote: “Providing good public safety in a state like Alaska is no easy task, but I know these graduates have the heart and perseverance to accomplish this critical task.”
Following these notes, the candidates earned what they spent the past 17 weeks working on: their law enforcement certifications and badges. For most people, that could mean the end of the career.
For the eleven recruits, it was neither like nor end. Soldiers spend an additional two weeks of advanced training, depending on their dispatch. This may mean advanced training in fish and wildlife investigations, boat safety, survival, commercial fisheries enforcement, search and rescue, and severe stress management.
Next, military recruits spend 12 weeks in the Field Training and Assessment Program at Fairbanks, Soldotna, or Matt Sue, before being promoted to full soldier rank.