Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Alaska State Troopers Daily Dispatch

Alaska State Troopers Daily Dispatch
(http://dps.state.ak.us/PIO/dispatch/)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What does a typical day of crime look like in Alaska?
  • What are some true stories of Alaska search and rescue?
  • Where can I find some brief accounts of female perpetrated domestic violence?

Description:

This site looks deceptively boring. It’s just a list of dates. But click on any date and you’ll see a set of short reports organized by region. There are shootings, domestic violence, car thefts and more. All are described in a Joe Friday, “Just the Facts” fashion along with a disclaimer that people named in the dispatches are innocent until proven guilty. Perusing a month’s worth of these dispatches will give you an idea of what sorts of Alaskan crimes are prevalent where.

The Dispatch also includes search and rescue efforts. Searching on (rescue inurl:dps.state.ak.us/PIO/dispatch/) brought up about  189 results as of this writing. Rescues included two hypothermic teens on 12/23/2013 and an 8/6/2012 rescue of rafters in the wilderness in difficult terrain.

Search Tips/Story Ideas:

Writers and other interested parties can tease out particular types of incidents using Google or another search engine that supports the “inurl” operator. The form of the search is:

[word or phrase] inurl:dps.state.ak.us/PIO/dispatch/

For example, searching on (shooting inurl:dps.state.ak.us/PIO/dispatch) brought up 181 results, including a 6/14/2013 incident where someone was shot in the leg while riding in the back of a pickup truck.

This site could be very helpful with giving police characters things to do, criminal characters a back story, or deciding what sorts of crime to burden an Alaskan or rural town with.

Most states have an equivalent of the Alaska State Troopers and many of them produce similar reports. Try searching [your state here] police or troopers in your favorite search engine. Then looks for a press or public affairs page.

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