Former Anchorage Police Chief and Alaska Public Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan, speaking to a group of journalism students, UAA faculty, and community members, refused, when asked whether he might consider running for governor of Alaska, to rule it out.
When asked a third time about this, he stated that he had agreed with his faculty host, not to discuss his political future at the event.
I attended the talk to meet Monegan, a public safety officer I've long respected. There were a couple of questions I had hoped to ask, but they weren't about his political aspirations. The questions on future politics and potential political considerations he might be pondering, took me completely by surprise.
Monegan's address to the students was mostly about how public safety career professionals need to develop their attitude toward their job as one of service, improvisation, learning and humility. He cited examples from his past that showed he has long created images in his mind about the importance of selflessness in the realm of public service.
In Monegan's metaphor, using the recent movie, Kingdom of Heaven, as a fixing point, he compared shields of old to modern methods an officer needs to use, once one takes up the "shield" of a police officer. As I listened to Monegan describe this and some of his other examples of personal sacrifice, I got an answer to a question that had probed my mind since his termination as commissioner of Public Safety, last summer, by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
I had wondered how great an impact Monegan's father's death during the Korean War might have had upon his development. Walt's dad, also named Walter, received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic actions there, which turned a losing action around, saving what was left of his unit from annihilation.
His father's sacrifice had a tremendous impact on Monegan's life work and sense of career mission. And it still does. Monegan is incredibly modest, soft-spoken and self effacing.
My questions had to do with Monegan's relations with Anchorage's Hispanic community while he was Anchorage police chief, and about the continuity of the dynamically promising intra-service sexual violence program he appeared to be spearheading at the time Palin terminated him.
One fellow UAA prof said to me, at the meeting's end, "He all but declared he's running."
a note: It looks like some Sarabot is writing Monegan's Wikipedia page.
Update - Thursday at 6:15 a.m: More on this at What Do I Know? - Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis - KTUU-TV