Petersburg’s lone state trooper received statewide honors this month. The Alaska Department of Public safety named Cody Litster as Wildlife Trooper of the Year for the entire division as well as for his regional detachment. Matt Lichtenstein reports:

Wildlife Trooper Cody Litster received the award at a banquet in Anchorage earlier this month.

“It’s great. I like to think I do a good job or try to do a good job. It’s nice to be recognized and someone else realizes it too,” he said this week.

Litster is a busy man. At any given time, he might be out patrolling the commercial fishing grounds or responding to a call 20 miles out the road from Petersburg or investigating an on-going case.

When I reached him by cell phone for this story, Litster was refueling his patrol boat in the small village of Kake, about 50 miles from Petersburg. At the time, he was out checking on steelhead fishermen, bear hunters and bear guides.

He loves the variety in the work.

“It just rotates from one thing to the next. It keeps the job interesting which is my big draw. The seasons are going to change but then from day to day you show up at the office, you might have a plan of what’s going on and you get a phone call that sends you in a totally different direction. So, I mean, the adventure, and what’s going on is always fun but also being able to help people and also have an impact on the resources and protect the resource for everybody so it’s, I don’t know, it’s great all the way around. I can’t imagine doing anything different or can’t imagine what could be better,” he said.

Litster is the only trooper stationed in Petersburg and he covers a large portion of the land and sea in central Southeast including Mitkof, Kupreanof and Kuiu Islands. His closest fellow trooper is in Wrangell, about 60 miles away by air.

There are 90 wildlife troopers across the state including 18 in Southeast where Lt. Steve Hall is Litster’s detachment commander.

Hall says the department chose Litster for the award because of the good work he does in Petersburg and Southeast in general, “In Petersburg, he’s the lone representative for the department of public safety and he not only does fish and wildlife enforcement but a lot of criminal work as well as working traffic accidents and other general community problems outside the city of Petersburg. So, he has a pretty complicated range of things that he has to deal with on a real regular basis. His day might consist of planning to go on a commercial fisheries patrol but end up working a burglary at someone’s residence and he does all of that at an extremely high level.”

According to Hall, Litster also go the award because of his ability to work well with the public.

“He wasn’t just chosen because he’s a productive trooper, meaning that he writes lots of tickets. He does fine in that arena and he uses good judgment as well about what tickets he writes and how he deals with the public both when they’re not in violation and when they are in violation of laws and regulations,” Hall said.

Litster has been a trooper for about a decade. In addition to Petersburg, he’s also served in Big Lake, Wasilla and Palmer.