Alaska in Brief

Muskox attacks, kills court security officer near Nome

By: - December 14, 2022 1:53 pm

Curtis Worland is seen in an undated file photo provided by the Alaska Department of Public Safety. Worland was killed Tuesday by a muskox. (Department of Public Safety Photo)

A muskox attacked and killed an Alaska court services officer near Nome on Tuesday, the Alaska Department of Public Safety said by email.

Curtis Worland was attempting to haze a herd of muskox away from a dog kennel at his home when one of the animals attacked and killed him. He was declared dead at the scene, the department said.

Austin McDaniel, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said the incident has been declared a death in the line of duty.

Court services officers oversee prisoner transports and courtroom security, among other duties, and are part of the Department of Public Safety. Worland had been an officer since 2009, always based out of the Nome State Trooper post, the agency said.

“Curtis proudly wore the Court Services Officer uniform and honorably served the people of Alaska for 13 years. He was a proud member of the Nome community and a dedicated member of the Alaska law enforcement family,” said Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell in a prepared statement. “I hope that Alaskans will keep Curtis’ family, friends, loved ones, and the Alaska State Troopers in your thoughts as we process this tragic loss for our state. He will be sorely missed by the DPS family.”

Fatal muskox attacks are rare, but encounters between dogs and muskox are more frequent in the Nome area, home to a large herd.

Worland’s death is being investigated by the State Troopers, Wildlife Troopers and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Public safety officers were scheduled to hold a memorial procession in Anchorage on Wednesday afternoon.

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James Brooks
James Brooks

James Brooks is a longtime Alaska reporter, having previously worked at the Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, Kodiak Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he is married to Caitlyn Ellis, owns a house in Juneau and has a small sled dog named Barley. He can be contacted at [email protected].