Letter to the Editor
I listened with bereaved interest to the emotional story of the loss of two of Alaska’s State Troopers. While at first I was getting the information by voice third hand. I waited to gather as much information from non bias sources before putting type to paper, it was early on in the investigation of what is now fairly clear. Troopers Sgt. Patrick Scott Johnson and Gabriel Rich were brutally executed in ambush by two craven cowards. I almost retitled this letter to read the “Punk and the Drunk.” Having spent a third of my own life in the administration of public safety, after reviewing what facts I can glean. I tell you with sincerity that a huge responsibility for the loss of these great men lays squarely in the laps of the hierarchy at the top levels of the administration of the Alaska State Police, allow me to explain.
Someone at a high level within that administration makes a decision to send just two Troopers to a remote armed encounter. What facts did they know prior to making this decision.
1. An unarmed Tribal officer called the Alaska State Troopers for help based on a complaint he had received at a remote village.
2. The complaint he had received was of the nature of a disorderly inebriated person within the village operating a motor vehicle.
3. The pursuit of this individual by the tribal officer ultimately led to the residence of the man where he was confronted by the suspect who was armed.
4. The Tribal officer made the correct decision, get sufficient manpower for help.
Two people are not sufficient numbers against the odds of a previously known armed encounter. I won’t buy into the shortage of manpower theory offered by State administrators when lives hang in the balance, here are just two of the many reasons why that excuse falls short. A couple of years back that same administration at great expense to the tax base and budget approved the purchase of a report writing system that is not only a failed system but one that removes the Troopers from the assigned exposure to the public by up to 20%. The Troopers continue to toil with this redundant report system while other Troopers administrations in the lower 48 (Oregon for one) who had made the same purchase discarded that folly within months of attempting to use it. The other excuse of “ Weave always done it this way” holds no water either. Two good men are dead, their families and loved ones are in grief. Why? Past failed practices need to be changed. Make the administration of the Alaska State Police answer that question.
Conner D Macovey