Retired Alaska State Trooper, Lonny Piscoya named to lead MMIP initiative

Lonny Piscoya has taken over the state's missing and murdered indigenous persons position.
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 11:19 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Retired Alaska State Trooper, Lt. Lonny Piscoya has been named to take over the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons position within Alaska’s Department of Public Safety (DPS).

The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons position is a new position that was created within the last year by the Department of Public Safety. Anne Sears, who held the position for a few months stepped down and Lonny Pisacoya answered the call to take her place.

Piscoya is a retired Lieutenant with the Alaska State Troopers, who began his career in 1993 in Fairbanks. He has worked in various locations around the state to include Nome, where he was born. He eventually moved back to Fairbanks and initially ended his career.

Having only retired in 2018, Piscoya spoke about why he chose to come out of retirement and take up this new position, “[what] better reason to come out of retirement than to do this kind of work and maybe make a difference in a case or two.”

Piscoya will lead the department’s efforts assisting the Alaska Bureau of Investigation with active and cold cases involving Alaska Natives. Some of his duties will include communicating information between the partnered organizations that are involved in the investigations.

When asked about how he has approached the position so far and what he’d like to see come out of his work, he said, “primarily, what I’ll be doing in the future is taking a look at each case and say...huh we should probably look at this or do this. But, primarily it’s a new perspective and hopefully we’ll solve a couple of cases. We’re certainly going to work hard to try and solve them. There certainly hasn’t been a lack of effort for that.”

One of the issues faced by investigators is when a new case comes up, they have to refocus their attention on the new case. The benefit of Piscoya’s position is he can work a single case to its fullest limit and he doesn’t have to change cases until he believes he has worked the cases to it’s fullest capacity.

“I am excited to return to the department to lead this worthy initiative for DPS,” said Piscoya. “I have seen the devastation that high rates of violent crimes have on Alaska’s villages and small communities. I am committed to doing my part to help reverse those trends with my fellow Alaska State Troopers.”

“I personally worked with Lonny over his career with the department and know from first-hand experience that he will bring the same tenacity and persistence that he was known for as a Trooper to this critical role,” said James Cockrell, the Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Public Safety.