Remembering Troopers Killed In Line Of Duty With Family Ties To Copper Valley

Dennis Cronin's Badge Of Honor At The Anchorage Trooper Offices – The First Of Many Mounted On The Wall, Including One For Bruce Heck (B...

Dennis Cronin's Badge Of Honor At The Anchorage Trooper Offices – The First Of Many Mounted On The Wall, Including One For Bruce Heck (Below). 

End Of Watch.  February 18th, 1974 


First Trooper Ever Killed In The Line Of Duty In Alaska
Born in County Cork, Ireland
Husband Of Patsy Johns Of Copper Center

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the first Alaska State Trooper killed while on duty. Dennis Cronin, married to Patsy Johns of Copper Center, was a Trooper when Alaska was only 15 years old. 

Born in County Cork, Ireland, and raised in Massachusetts, Dennis Cronin came to Alaska with the Air Force out of high school. He became a U.S. citizen in 1965. 

The young immigrant had an aptitude for law enforcement, and was named "Most Outstanding Trooper" in Alaska. He married Patsy Johns in 1973. Patsy was the daughter of Ruth and Harry Johns, esteemed Native leaders from Copper Center. 

During the Pipeline years, Dennis worked undercover, and pretended to be living on the streets of Anchorage. It was a difficult and harrowing job. The Pipeline brought with it money, prostitution, corruption, drugs and crime. 

Exactly 50 years ago, on February 18th, 1974, Dennis Cronin was shot to death by an informant in his squad car. He was 32 years old. 

Memorial at Eureka Summit For Bruce Alan Heck (Photo, Country Journal) 

End Of Watch.  January 10th, 1997


Killed In The Line Of Duty On The Glenn Highway
Husband Of Laurie Daniel Of The Copper Valley

Bruce Alan Heck was serving as an Alaska State Trooper in Glennallen on January 10th, 1997 when he came across a man driving a runaway taxicab up the Glenn from Anchorage. 

The man, John Kevin Phillips, had just been released from prison. When pursued by Trooper Heck, Phillips flipped the cab off the highway near the entrance to the Lake Louise Road – and ran into the woods. Bruce Heck followed him on foot. 

Phillips suffocated him to death in the snowy forest. 

At the time, Glennallen's Troopers were well known to the general public. Bruce Heck's murder was emotionally devastating to the people of the region. 

A memorial corridor, from Mile 128 Glenn Highway at Eureka to Mile 189 at the Hub intersection of the Glenn and Richardson highways, was named in honor of Bruce Heck. 


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