ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A new leader takes over at Alaska's largest law enforcement agency as Col. Keith Mallard replaces retiring Col. Audie Holloway as the head of the Alaska State Troopers.
Mallard has worked in a variety of positions from deputy sheriff in Idaho to a municipal officer on Saint Paul Island and finally, captain of the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol enforcement.
“To think that I'm here in Alaska now, the head of the Alaska State Troopers… It's surreal to think,” said Mallard.
A position of power that comes with a lot of responsibility.
“We're dealing with such a geographic vastness that it's important to collaborate with others. The end goal is all the same between us. It's to keep the citizens of Alaska safe,” Mallard said.
Mallard has served with the Troopers for 14 years. He previously worked as captain of the Alaska Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Enforcement.
Commissioner of Public Safety Joe Masters said it's Mallard's diverse background and experience in rural Alaska that makes him perfect for his new position.
“I think his background and experiences give him the lenses to look through to make the best and right decisions,” said Masters.
Mallard says he will continue to battle bootlegging in rural Alaska.
“We have to do everything in our power, whether it be alcohol or drug, to identify those individuals and do good cases against them, that they get prosecuted successfully and we can remove that influence from the communities,” said Mallard.
Mallard said he wants to increase the number of village public safety officers in western Alaska.
“I think it's a great responsibility. I've been given the opportunity to lead this organization and life in general is an adventure, so I'm excited to get started,” said Mallard.
Former-Col. Audie Holloway retired on Friday.
Holloway says he plans to go to Iraq to help train police officers for the State Department.