Two new Juneau Police Department hires graduated from the Department of Public Safety Training Academy in Sitka last week.
Benjamin Beck of Fairview Heights, Ill., and Patrick Vaughan of Coquille, Ore., both 25, were among 18 new law enforcement agents to complete the 15-week Alaska Law Enforcement Training Session (ALET). A graduation ceremony was held at the Sheet’Ka Kwaan Na’Kaa Hidi Building in Sitka on Thursday.
“We are very excited to have Ben and Patrick back from the academy,” JPD spokeswoman Cindee Brown-Mills said Tuesday. “They are both very bright men and (we) look forward to their successful completion of the Field Training Program.”
Academy graduates completed more than 900 hours of intensive, scenario-based training and physical fitness exercises relating to different law enforcement-related topics.
Both Beck and Vaughan were hired by JPD on July 25, and will begin their first day of field training today. Field training is done under the supervision of a field trainer, who is specifically trained to teach patrol officer duties.
Brown-Mills said JPD had two openings after one officer recently retired — Sgt. Steve Hernandez — and another was terminated.
Officer Brian Ervin was terminated after he pleaded guilty this summer to attempted interference with an official proceeding.
Alongside the two JPD rookies who received their badges Thursday was former JPD Officer Jacob Abbott, 24, who was recently hired as an Alaska State Trooper. Abbott’s last day with the JPD was Oct. 14.
Lateral hires such as Abbott are not required to go through the 15-week long ALET since they have prior law enforcement experience equivalent to what is required by the Alaska Police Standards Council.
Abbott instead completed a four-week lateral academy and will go on to the four-week “Trooper Basic.”
Trooper Basic entails more specific and advanced training in fish and wildlife investigations, boating safety, survival, commercial fisheries enforcement, media relations, critical stress management, patrol rifle training, and pepper ball and Stinger spike system training, according to a DPS statement.
Trooper recruits then begin a 15-week-long field training and evaluation program at their first duty assignment. If they can perform all law enforcement functions independently and successfully, they can be promoted to trooper, which occurs usually one year from the start of the academy.
Brown-Mills said JPD has not yet filled Abbott’s position, or that of another officer who is leaving, Tracy Murphy. Two more new officers will also soon be hired following the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly’s decision on Monday to approve funding for two downtown police officer positions via a COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) grant.
“We’re still discussing the budget and all of that stuff with the city manager,” Brown-Mills said.
• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.