Watch video: 19 new officers from North Pole to Juneau graduate at Sitka training academy


In the pouring rain, 19 new law enforcement officers received their marching orders on Friday at a ceremony in Sitka. They had completed the basic Law Enforcement Training course at the Alaska Law Enforcement Training Academy and will hit the streets, trails, airports, and waters of Alaska to protect the peace in many communities, from North Pole to Juneau.

Graduates include:

  • Officer Mark Adams, Seward Police Department
  • Trooper Mohammad Alkarmy, Alaska State Troopers
  • Trooper Jacob Bairett, Alaska State Troopers
  • Officer Anthony Bates, Juneau Police Department
  • Trooper Ryan Bell, Alaska State Troopers
  • Officer Benjamin Bennett, Anchorage International Airport Police and Fire Department
  • Officer Bradley Bordner, Homer Police Department
  • Trooper Dylan Bowers,  Alaska State Troopers (Lateral recruit attended an abbreviated eight-week academy.)
  • Trooper Colleen Bryant, Alaska State Troopers 
  • Trooper Jason Cantor, Alaska State Troopers
  • Officer Kenneth Fahle, Anchorage International Airport Police and Fire Department
  • Officer Nicholas Irvin, Fairbanks Police Department
  • Officer Jaxon Letendre, Wasilla Police Department
  • Officer Tyler Nicholson, North Pole Police Department
  • Trooper Juan Olson Guzman, Alaska Wildlife Troopers
  • Officer Andrew Reynolds, Valdez Police Department
  • Officer Kenneth Scott, Anchorage International Airport Police and Fire Department
  • Trooper Alan Urban, Alaska Wildlife Troopers
  • Trooper Joshua Whitby, Alaska Wildlife Troopers

The ecruits completed more than 1,000 hours of training over the course of 17 weeks of basic Alaska Law Enforcement Training. Recruits received intensive instruction in more than 70 law enforcement-related topics, use-of-force and de-escalation, physical fitness, and many scenario-based exercises designed to prepare entry-level police officers and Troopers for successful careers in Alaska law enforcement. The training included being pepper sprayed and tased. For the numerous exams taken by the 2023 graduating class, the average grade point average was 92.12.

The class’ initial physical fitness test scores were 75%, but their final score, after 17 weeks of rigorous training, was over 91%. Each recruit completed over 120 hours of firearms training and fired over 2,000 rounds. They had to pass a written test for each firearm, with a minimum score of 80.

During the training, Seward Police Officer recruit Mark Adams shot a perfect score with his patrol rifle. Alaska Wildlife Trooper recruit Juan Olson Guzman shot a perfect buckshot score with his shotgun. Alaska State Trooper recruit Colleen Bryant qualified with all her guns, despite never having shot a gun before.

Alan Urban, Alaska Wildlife Trooper recruit, shot 193 out of 200 on the patrol rifle, a perfect score on the buckshot shotgun, a perfect score on the slug qualification, and 39 out of 40 on the handgun qualification. Urban also scored 100% on rifle written tests and 98% on the shotgun test. He received the 2023 Firearms Proficiency Award from the Academy.

Alaska Wildlife Trooper recruit Alan Urban receives the 2023 Firearms Proficiency Award from the Alaska Law Enforcement Training Academy.

This was the first ALET class that primarily used handguns with red-dot optics, as the academy’s firearms training moves away from pistols with iron sights. This was also the first class that shot to the Department of Public Safety’s new handgun qualification standard. The previous qualification was created in the 1980s and modeled around the revolver. The new qualification focuses on skills that law enforcement officers are encountering these days — high intensity, short duration, and close contact engagements.

Since about 60% of all law enforcement engagements are around vehicles, the academy brings vehicles on to the range for realistic training.

Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell expressed confidence in the new officers who completed the Alaska Law Enforcement Training Academy.

“Completing the world-class training at our Sitka based academy is no easy feat. I welcome these new law enforcement officers to our noble profession. Their work will enhance the safety and security of our state,” he said.

“I commend the new law enforcement officers who have successfully completed the rigorous Alaska Law Enforcement Academy,” said Gov. Mike Dunleavy. “I appreciate your dedication to serving and safeguarding Alaskans throughout our great state, and for the positive impact your service will have on future generations of Alaskans.”


  1. Thumb’s up for the men/women in blue.
    Now all we need are some bitbull prosecutors & a couple more jails.
    Plenty of crime out there to fill them up.

  2. Congrats to all graduates. We look forward to having you on the streets.

    Now, why exactly are we spending over 10% of the 1000 hours of training on firearm proficiency?

    Before anyone gets all bent out of shape I am a huge gun guy. Just seems like we might be a little over zealous about a part of the job that is very unlkke

    • Firearm proficiency is very important. We’re talking the use of deadly force. Recruits need to learn the weapon, how to handle it, clean/maintain it, and proper storage. It takes hours of repetition to develop the muscle memory needed to become proficient at drawing a weapon and firing. Most important, hitting the desired target.

  3. Good looking class. Takes hundreds of hours and millions of dollars to recruit, train, outfit, and field train. A nice bonus is now offered for many. We really need to discuss switching to a pension type system. If we don’t, I estimate over half of this class will be gone in 3-5 years as they get recruited by departments that offer this. Then, we’ll start all over again with costs growing higher and higher.

    • As much as I agree with you, it’ll never happen. Yes, many do leave for greener pastures between three and five years, but for many it’s after they’re vested…five years and out. Take their 401 along with them.

      LE pensions attract Troopers who will commit to the organization and to their public. Defined contribution retirements (401) attract someone looking for a job, not a career. To say that the caliber of Troopers has fallen dramatically since the demise of Tier 3 is putting it mildly.

      There will always be some slimy politician willing to make mileage and gain voters by attacking pensions for law enforcement as an undefined future expense.

    • Every sector in the American economy suffers from high turnover. Pension or no, few people are career employees anymore. While a pension may tempt a few Troopers to stick around it is not a silver bullet to solve the revolving door problem.

      Maybe a better solution would be to give a significant retention bonus after completing 5, 10, 15, and 20 years would work better? I’m not talking about a chump change $5K thanks for your service award either. Drop $100K into their retirement at each step….expensive sure, but still way cheaper than bringing on a rookie every few years.

    • Absolutely need a solid pension system… My AST class of 1978 lost half of its number by the time I reached retirement. For a number of reasons.


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