Well, I can hardly believe that 2010 is already drawing to a close! Here is wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and safe and prosperous New Year from your Women Police of Alaska board!
Speaking of the New Year and the WPA board, with 2011 comes the biennial elections of the offices of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and four Board members at large. I will be soliciting nominations for the board in the next couple of months, so stay tuned!
Since my last offering in August, we tried something new for our annual summer get-together by co-promoting the Law Enforcement Appreciation picnic in Sterling, AK sponsored by APSC, FBINAA, APOA and WPA. A few of us did manage to make it down to the Kenai Peninsula for a very wet, but enjoyable, picnic. At least the picnic was not totally flooded out like in 2009! Several of us stayed overnight at the Apsen Hotel in Soldotna and had an enjoyable weekend get-away.
In October, Women Police of Alaska again sponsored the UAA Women in Law Enforcement Recruitment Fair at the UAA Student Union in Anchorage. In association with the Alaska State Troopers, the Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police and the UAA Justice Center, we continue to work to make this a successful annual event. This year we even made a few radio commercial spots, and I did an interview promoting the career fair and highlighting the Women Police of Alaska. The interview was played on several Clear Channel radio stations across the state. I never heard it myself, but have been told by several people that it wasn’t half bad! Mostly they said they immediately recognized my voice before they realized what the story was…now what does that mean?! Where was my WPA Journalism and Public Communications major Vice President, Kris Sell, in my time of need?! (answer: in Juneau)
But seriously, thank you to all the Anchorage area members who took turns “wo-manning” our WPA booth – Maxine Andrews, Ruth Adolf, Susan Cusack, Mary Jo Herrett, Tiffani Loughman and Andrea Jacobson. They enthusiastically and tirelessly fielded questions about law enforcement opportunities in general to the UAA students and other citizens interested in the prospect of a career in law enforcement.
I have not received a lot of news and updates on promotion, retirement and movement of members in the past few months, with the exception of Cheryl Gilmour who bravely changed posts to the Top of the World as a Court Services Officer (CSO) with AST in Barrow earlier this year. She sent us a wonderful postcard of a polar bear photograph she took which is posted in the “Photos” link. Also, FBI Special Agent Mary Jo Herrett is transferring from Anchorage to the Minneapolis field office this month. Best wishes, Mary Jo and thank you for helping out at our career fairs over the past couple of years.
And sadly, 2010 saw the passing of long time International Association of Women Police (IAWP) member and former Women Police of Alaska historian, Kathleen Gray Warren, on October 10, 2010. Kathy was retired from the Anchorage Police Department, but hardly slowed down in her community involvement and volunteer activities here in Anchorage in the years following her retirement. If you browse the “Photos” link on our website, you will catch glimpses of Kathy involved with Women Police as far back as 1985. A more fitting memorial for Kathy and her wonderful and storied life may be found at the following link: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/adn/obituary.aspx?n=a-gray-warren&pid=145942941. Rest in peace, Kathy.
And last, but not least, we are all sorrowed at the senseless loss of Hoonah Officers Matthew Tokuoka and Sergeant Anthony Wallace on August 29, 2010. I want to take this opportunity to recognize the efforts of our very own WPA Vice-President, Kris Sell, Lieutenant, Juneau Police Department, for her unselfish and unparalleled efforts in aiding the citizens of Hoonah in the immediate aftermath, and then with the families of Matthew and Anthony, and law enforcement agencies across the state to come together to grieve and remember. In the words of one close observer in Juneau:
“Just want you to know what an outstanding woman Lt. Kris Sell is – she stayed up all night putting together the SWAT team from JPD and their transportation to assist the poor dispatcher in Hoonah who was trying to save her chief, reserve officer and AWT Trooper…she was the tip of the spear taking care of officer’s families, travel arrangements, funeral coordination, Vigil coordination and Supervision once the remains returned to Juneau, the procession, Media releases, our CISM team, the tactical response coordination from JPD, her job as telecommunications supervisor at JPD, memorial fund-raiser t-shirt design and sales and anything else that needed doing. She was everywhere at once – sometimes twice. I don’t think she slept for 2 days… we will never be able to repay what she did for the law enforcement community and her town.”
But we can say, “Thank you, Kris.”
Once again, best wishes to you all for a Merry Christmas and safe and prosperous 2011!