Journal Editorial: State Trooper Report About Seven Rafters Saved On Tonsina River Is Needlessly Incomplete

Seven Unidentified Rafters Rescued On Tonsina River  Seven rafters were rescued on Saturday, June 26th, 2021 on the Tonsina River near Kenny...

Seven Unidentified Rafters Rescued On Tonsina River 



Seven rafters were rescued on Saturday, June 26th, 2021 on the Tonsina River near Kenny Lake. 

Troopers said that at around 8 pm Saturday night they received a report of the incident. The rafters had lost one of their rafts in the water. Their second raft was stuck in a log jam, Troopers said. 

Troopers said the State Troopers and Village Public Safety Officers responded to the site with 4-wheelers and were able to locate the stranded rafting party. Everybody was brought back to the highway, Troopers said, and were checked by EMS. 

Troopers said nobody was injured.

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FROM THE JOURNAL:
A WORD ABOUT INCOMPLETE REPORTS FROM THE ALASKA STATE TROOPERS DISPATCH CENTER

In the past, Trooper Reports in the Copper Valley (and the rest of Alaska for that matter) were far more complete. We know this at the Country Journal because we worked on a daily basis with local and statewide Alaska State Troopers for 13 years and saw and printed every single Trooper Report that came through in the original print version of the Country Journal, starting a year or so into our publication in 1986.

In our two-week printing schedule, we frequently ran over 20 Trooper reports at a time, covering at least one, and sometimes two pages of dense text. But now, in 2021, days will go by with no Trooper information coming out of this region on official dispatches. 

When an incident in Alaska is noted today, the Alaska State Trooper dispatch system (in spite of huge advances in communication technology and ability to communicate rapidly with the public on the web) frequently keeps names and relevant details out of their very sparse Trooper dispatches. In their "official" web-based state dispatch about this incident concerning stranded rafters on the Tonsina, for example, Troopers deliberately left out all specific and basic information. 
 
All of us in the Copper Valley deal with rivers and lakes. We are all aware of their dangers. This type of story is important to us – partly so we can do whatever we can to avoid getting into a fix like this ourselves. 
 
This is "local news." Yet, it is impossible to know if the rescued Tonsina River rafters were local, if this incident involved a commercial rafting company or if the rafters were on their own – and the names, states or hometowns of the rafters. The official Trooper Report also doesn't mention the names of local assisting State Troopers and VPSOs involved in this incident – as if the Copper Valley, and Alaska, were a heavily populated place where our public safety and volunteer personnel's individual names, achievements and work is irrelevant.
  
The Country Journal believes that when a basic lack of information shows up in official state dispatches, Alaska's higher level State Trooper officials are walking away from the public and their boots-on-the-ground staff, and essentially turning over the dissemination and interpretation of information about local incidents to community gossip.   

When Trooper reports have huge holes in them, this means that gossip, innuendo and misinformation become the only means for local people to try to learn about Trooper-related news in our community.
 
Backing off from speaking to the public is not productive, accurate, or safe. It's a major and unnecessary step that depersonalizes our local Troopers, VPSOs and EMTs. The message is that unnecessary censorship is okay. 
 

ACTUAL TEXT, TROOPER DISPATCH: 
On 6/26/21 at approximately 1959 hours, Glennallen AST received a report of a rafting party of 7 stranded on the Tonsina River near Kenny Lake. The party had lost a raft in the water and their second raft was stuck in a log Jam. AST and VPSOs responded to the area with four-wheelers and were able to locate them. All parties were brought back to the highway and were checked by EMS. No one was injured.
 

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