The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

Editor, Valdez Star 

Terror drill scaled back last week after Virginia trooper shooting

No connection seen in incident but Valdez erred on the side of caution


Valdez Star photo

Beau Fowler, an intern with the Valdez Police Dept., giving a brief tour of the department's mobile cyber security van before last week's Alaska Shield exercise.

Last week's terror drill was scaled back after a Virginia trooper was shot during a similar exercise at a bus station.

Thursday, Mike Sutton, Exercise Director from the State of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, notified all participants in Alaska Shield of the Virginia incident and advised caution.

Valdez emergency responders - in addition to military and other state and federal participants - were preparing to hold a simulated terrorist attack on Gilson Middle School on Saturday.

"While there was no specific threat identified for Alaska Shield [or Valdez], Mr. Sutton stated exercise participants needed to be aware of the Virginia incident and remain extra vigilant for the duration of the exercise," Allie Ferko, the city's public information officer, said in an email.

The Valdez exercise was scaled back to a tabletop drill.

It had originally been planned as a real-time event, with wounded victims and other realistic props.

Valdez police still held a planned seminar for businesses and organizations on the topic of cyber terrorism, a day after the Virginia incident.

The Associated Press reported Friday that a 34-year-old Illinois man fatally shot a Virginia state trooper at a busy bus terminal before the gunman was killed by other troopers.

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller identified the shooter as James Brown III, of Aurora, Ill. Police did not give a motive for the shooting according to the AP.

Brown shot Trooper Chad P. Dermyer, 37, multiple times Thursday in Richmond before he was killed by two other troopers, police said. Dermyer had been participating with about a dozen other troopers in a training exercise at the bus station when a brief encounter with the gunman quickly turned violent, police said.

Two women also were shot but were expected to recover.

Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said law enforcement officers have become the target of "folks out there with evil intentions."

Brown had a lengthy criminal record. He was charged with attempted murder in 2001 before pleading guilty to lesser charges and being sentenced to four years in prison.

Valdez Star photo

The Valdez Police Dept. held a seminar on cyber terrorism Friday as part of the Alaska Shield exercises.

Police say the slain trooper, the father of two children, was a native of Jackson, Michigan, and a former Marine who had served on the force in Jackson and Newport news, Virginia.

Dermyer was known as hard worker and good colleague, said Newport news Police Sgt. Gerald Loose. Dermyer worked for the Newport news Police Department from 2003 to 2007.

"He was a great guy," Loose said.

Earlier this year, Dermyer and another trooper briefly became mini-celebrities when they rescued a lost dog running through interstate traffic in Hampton. The rescue was highlighted on WVEC TV and received widespread praise on social media.


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