Trooper at center of Palin probe loses police certificate

ANCHORAGE (AP) — Officials have revoked the law enforcement certification of the former Alaska State Trooper at the center of the so-called Troopergate scandal that led to investigations into whether Sarah Palin abused her power as governor.

The Alaska Police Standards Council’s decision means that for at least a year, Mike Wooten will be on a national decertification list reviewed by police agencies before hires, Anchorage television station KTUU reported.

Council director Kelly Alzaharna declined to comment to the station about Wooten’s case. She said council members meet two times a year to review complaints against officers. The process can take a few years, but that time can be shortened if an officer immediately surrenders a certificate or declines a hearing on allegations.

Wooten’s state job ended in 2014 for undisclosed reasons.

Wooten went through a bitter divorce with Palin’s sister and was the target of complaints from Palin and her family starting in 2005, before she became governor. After her election in 2006, Palin’s husband, Todd, and aides pressured her public safety commissioner and others to fire Wooten.

Wooten stayed on the job, and Palin fired the commissioner. While she was John McCain’s GOP running mate in the 2008, two investigations ended with conflicting results on whether she abused her power.

One investigation found that she did abuse her power and the other that she didn’t.

During the investigation, Wooten allowed his union to release his personnel files, which included findings that he had used a stun gun on his stepson, illegally shot a moose, drank beer in his patrol car and made a threat against his father-in-law.

Wooten’s last post was in the western Alaska village of Emmonak, 10 miles from the Bering Sea at the mouth of the Yukon River.

Information from: KTUU-TV, http://www.ktuu.com

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