Parker About to Move On
Police spokesman has been a media favorite
ANCHORAGE - He’s the face of the Anchorage Police Department, even more so than the chief.
Lieutenant Dave Parker has been a continuous presence on local newscasts for the past five years, in his role as spokesman for the department.
Now Parker is set to retire at the end of the year.
He said he hasn’t minded answering hard questions from the media.
"The media is very important in my way of thinking. Having lived in countries like the Ivory Coast and Yemen, where there isn't a free press, a free press is extremely important. People don't treasure it here as they should."
Chief Mark Mew said, "Lieutenant Parker is probably the most famous person at the Anchorage Police Department. In fact, a lot of people know my face now, but I’ll go places and they'll have us confused. 'Are you that Parker guy?' 'No, no, no, no. He’s the famous one, not me.' "
Parker came to Anchorage in 1993 as a pastor and former police chaplain. Two years later, he joined APD and quickly gravitated toward solving crimes against children.
His faith remained vital to him in his police work.
"I'm a strong believer in the sovereignty of God. I could not attend 40 or 50 child autopsies and come out halfway normal if i didn't believe in God's sovereignty."
Lately, his biggest challenge has been dealing with persistent reporters, in this instance Casey Grove of the Daily News.
On the phone, Parker urged Grove to draw no conclusions about Officer Bryan Heinz being involved in two fatal shootings this year, one of a 59-year-old man and one of a pit bull.
"We had one officer, I remember, who used deadly force, I believe, twice in two months,” Parker told Grove. “He had no choice. But that's just kind of the luck of the draw and the way that the dice roll."
Parker generally has been popular with the media. However, he's attracted some unwanted attention on the internet from a left-wing blogger who claims he has covered up evidence of prostitution involving a famous Alaskan -- accusations Parker takes in stride.
On his office door, Parker has taped a printout of the blogger's assertion that he has covered up evidence that Todd Palin is, literally, a pimp.
"Who cares? And, you know, you'd almost sue the person for libel... if you cared."
And while he's seen many, many cases of violence and depravity in Anchorage, he said it's a good community, exemplified by the brave citizens who rescued people from a plane crash in Fairview in 2010.
"Risking their lives for people they don't even know."
Parker doesn't mention any specific post-retirement plans. "We'll see what the lord has for us next. I don't know what that is."
We just know he'll be missed.
Chief Mew said, “It's hard to conceive of a post-Parker world.” And said he has not yet made a decision on Parker's successor.
To view McAllister's full interview with Parker, click here.
Click here to view a Lieutenant Parker "blooper reel" KTVA has assembled.