• Alaska-raised state trooper offers unique perspective on social issues
By Naomi Klouda
Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Jeremy Stone won a promotion and was sent to the Anchor Point post just in time to become one of the best known names in area law enforcement.
He barely had time to move into his desk, when the sexual assault of a 17-year-old occurred at an out-of-control drunken teen party. The investigation took him into the Homer High School where he came into contact with students and Principal Allan Gee. It gave him instant familiarity with Haven House and the Homer Prevention Project and with the public through heavily attended town meetings.
“It’s been a real challenging time. Homer is a good community and Anchor Point is as well,” Stone said. “People will get through this. It’s just a matter of walking through it.”
Stone’s immersion into the communities called for an immediate partnership with other agencies that help provide social services. With the many conversations and public meetings went the challenge of regular shift work because the supervisor of a five-man post can’t sit at a desk all day. He has patrol duties as well.
“Each entity has done a good job. My job was to partner with them. My experience puts me in a position where I can offer the community help walking through this,” Stone said. “This job gives me different insights. And it forced me to build relationships right away.”
One of the insights he feels important to convey to communities is that sexual assault is not a rare, unusual event. Currently, every officer at the trooper post has more than one active sexual assault case under investigation. Drugs, alcohol abuse and suicide plague the Lower Peninsula as much as elsewhere in Alaska.
“In the long run, it’s imperative that we don’t forget these events occur. The numbers are really startling, all across Alaska every community has these issues,” he said. “By focusing on this one immediate case, we do a discredit to other victims.”
Stone said he supports Gov. Sean Parnell’s Choose Respect Initiative because it helps establish a foundation for change. “It educates folks. It hits at the foundation by calling on people to respect themselves and to respect others,” he said. “It’s important to hit the positive and at the same time fix the negative, to make time to fix the negative.”
For his own part, Stone’s perspective comes from law enforcement work in other parts of remote Alaska. He began in 2004 at the Cantwell Post that encompasses a 200-mile area including Denali National Park. He was transferred to the Kodiak Island post that oversees law enforcement in the city and all the island villages. There he served on wildlife patrol.
At Fairbanks, he worked three and half years, then was promoted to oversee the Anchor Point Post. Here, the area is again a vast territory that stretches from Clam Gulch to the villages across Kachemak Bay and down toward Prince William Sound.
“We have the most unique law enforcement in the country. We get to do a lot of things law enforcement in other states don’t get to do,” he said.
Alaska is home. Stone grew up in Wasilla on a farm, when the town was considerably smaller than today. He recalls riding his horse to the grocery store to buy soda pop, a feat few would try today. He thought that one day he might want to go into a law enforcement career, but he had other goals as well. He wanted to be a soldier and he wanted to be a paramedic.
“I joined the Alaska National Guard and became a combat medic. That crossed those two goals off my list, both at the same time,” he said.
After college and working for small businesses, he decided to go for that third unattained goal and join the troopers. He’s been there for eight years and feels it was the best decision he could make.
Since he had a career in other fields, such as business, skills in analyzing financial reports come in handy for fraud investigations. He also brings medical experience and insights into ordinary Alaska life to the job.
“I love it. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” he said. “I try to keep in mind that because people make bad choices, it doesn’t make them bad people. No one calls us when they aren’t having a problem. They don’t call and say, ‘hey, I’m having a great day.’ We see them on the worst days of their lives.”
Stone said tight family connections keep life positive for his own frame of reference.
Comments are closed