Alpena’s new troopers

Three MSP troopers begin careers

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Trooper Heidi Killingbeck, left, and Luke Simmons are two of three new troopers at the Michigan State Police Alpena Post. They began work Monday. The third trooper is Alpena native Alex Karsten.

ALPEN — The Michigan State Police Alpena Post welcomed three new troopers to work Monday and they are eager to protect and serve residents in Northeast Michigan, as well as become members of the Alpena community.

Troopers Heidi Killingbeck, Luke Simmons and Alex Karsten recently graduated from the 133rd Trooper Recruit School and begin their careers in Alpena. Killingbeck is from Whittemore-Prescott, Simmons from Oscoda and Karsten is an Alpena native.

Karsten said after serving in the United States Marines he chose to get into law enforcement. He said he is excited to return home and work for the people in the area.

“It really feels good to be back home and to be able to help the community,” Karsten said. “I love Alpena. Everyone knows each other, seem to get along and there is a lot to do here. I’m glad I was able to come back.”

Killingbeck said she worked as a 911 dispatcher and enjoyed helping people and first responders over the radios and phones. After some time she decided she wanted to be become a police officer and be the one to respond to the scene to help people.

She said she had heard a lot about Alpena but had never been until recently. She said she likes it because it has a small town feel, like her hometown, but also has amenities, shopping and dining like in larger towns.

“It has a kind of a big city setting with all of the stores and restaurants, but still has the small town vibe and charm,” she said. “I can’t wait to get to know the people and for them to get to know me.”

Simmons has visited many times and has family who lives here. He said Alpena’s natural resources and outdoor activities are appealing to him. He said being part of a close-knit community also is something that made a job in Alpena attractive to him.

Being rookies, the three new troopers know they will be learning on the job and will count on the experience of more seasoned police officers to help show them the ropes and get settled. Simmons said because each day is different in law enforcement it is likely he will learn something new every day until he retires.

“I will count on the veterans and their experience, but also retired police officers and even members of the public,” Simmons said. “If you have a 30 year career I think you’ll probably still learn something on the last day. Whether it is law enforcement related or not, there is always something to learn.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.