FAIRBANKS, Alaska. (KTVF) Some people may only interact with Alaska State Troopers if they are pulled over, but we went on a ride along with Trooper Kenton Mayfield to learn more about what it is like to have that job.
Trooper Kenton Mayfield on traffic patrol during a ride along Friday. (Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)
Mayfield says patrolling the roads is only one part of their job. “If I have a bunch of reports pending that I need to type up, those usually take priority. Otherwise traffic patrol, sometimes helping other agencies if we are available to do so, that usually takes up the majority of our time when we are not going to a specific call,” said Mayfield.
Mayfield says he just makes sure he has enough layers during extreme cold temperatures. “I have four layers on right now, I got winter gloves, I have hand warmers on me at all times, I have a parka in the back for even more cold protection, I have extra gloves, extra hats, and I have a face mask -- pretty much everything I need to stay on a call. Right now it’s -30. Say I get a call in this weather, without having to go back to my car, or having to go somewhere else other than my car, to make sure I get the extra layers and protection I need if I’m going to be stuck somewhere for an extended period of time,” said Mayfield.
The amount of area the Alaska State Troopers cover is one of the biggest challenges they face, according to Mayfield. “Obviously we can’t have troopers everywhere. Most of our troopers in D detachment are stationed in Fairbanks. In some situations, if you’re talking about Fairbanks rural unit, they have to drive sometimes hundreds of miles, up to Circle or to Manley Hot Springs or anywhere up the Steese or Elliot. We have to fly to villages sometimes, and obviously weather induced delays can occur so it even further delays our response to places in the outskirts of Fairbanks area and the villages out here. I would say that’s our biggest challenge -- trying to respond as fast as we can but then being limited to not only distance but weather as well,” said Mayfield.
When you have dispatch in your ear, eyes on the road, and your mind always on what might happen next, Mayfield says multitasking is a huge part of the job. “We got to be able to think about the next step at all times. You always got to make sure that you know what you’re going to do when you get there. Paying attention to all those things, and thinking about all those things... it was difficult at first but now that I’ve been on the job for a little bit of time it’s definitely a little bit easier to manage,” said Mayfield.
Mayfield has been a state trooper for the last year and half and is happy to serve the state he grew up in. “I would say my favorite part is definitely being able to do my part for the Alaskan community. That was the main reason I joined the state troopers. Unfortunately, the military didn’t work out for me so I figured the next best way to help serve my community... if I can’t serve my country, I can serve my state,” said Mayfield.
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