Anchorage-based trooper arrested, charged with domestic violence assault

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 3:02 PM AKST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2021 at 4:14 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - An Alaska State Trooper living in Wasilla but based in Anchorage has been arrested and charged with several counts of domestic violence-related assault against three adult victims, troopers announced Monday.

In a press release, troopers wrote that 40-year-old Garrett Willis, a Wasilla resident and an investigator with the troopers, was arrested Monday and faces two charges of second-degree domestic violence assault, three counts of third-degree domestic violence assault and three counts of fourth-degree domestic violence assault.

The charges stem from incidents that allegedly happened in 2018, 2019, 2020 and this year. According to the release, troopers were made aware on Nov. 2 of “an alleged instance of domestic violence in the Wasilla area perpetrated by Willis.” An investigation began by the Wasilla Police Department, as it allegedly happened within their jurisdiction.

Through that investigation, the Wasilla police identified additional alleged instances of domestic violence involving two other adult victims that happened in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and Kenai in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The Alaska State Troopers investigated those additional incidents along with the Kenai Police Department, and the Alaska Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions reviewed the case independently as well.

An arrest warrant for Willis was granted by the Alaska District Court in Palmer on Monday, according to the release, and he was arrested by troopers “without incident.” Troopers noted in the release that the investigation is still ongoing, and additional charges could be forthcoming.

None of the alleged incidents of assault happened while Willis was on duty as a trooper, according to the release. He had most recently been working as part of a federal Alaska-based taskforce in Anchorage, and has been a trooper since 2003.

Willis was put on leave on Nov. 10, according to the release. During a Monday press conference, Alaska State Troopers Director Col. Bryan Barlow said Willis has worked in numerous locations throughout the state.

Barlow is quoted in the press release as saying that the agency holds its troopers “to extremely high standards and will aggressively investigate any alleged criminal behavior and hold that employee accountable for their actions.”

“Domestic violence plagues our state, and unfortunately, often goes unnoticed in the shadows of our communities,” Barlow is quoted as saying in the release. “I would like to acknowledge these victims for coming forward and making these actions known to law enforcement so that we can hold the perpetrator accountable.”

Barlow declined during the press conference to describe what Willis’ relationship was to the alleged victims. He said that if a trooper is alleged to have committed a crime, “they’re investigated like any other perpetrator or suspect in a crime.”

“However, we would typically assign those investigations to the Alaska Bureau of Investigation,” Barlow said. “Where appropriate, we partner with other agencies as well.”

The troopers are asking that anyone who believes they have additional information regarding this case, or thinks they or someone they know might have been a victim of Willis, contact the troopers at (907) 352-5401.

This is the second arrest of an Alaska State Trooper in recent weeks. Last month, authorities arrested a Soldotna-based trooper who faces several charges of sexual abuse of a minor.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.

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