The 2007 state fair was days away when Alaska’s public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, took another call about one of his troopers, Michael Wooten. This time, the director of Gov. Sarah Palin’s Anchorage office was on the line.
As Mr. Monegan recalls it, the aide said the governor had heard that TrooperWooten was assigned to work the kickoff to the fair in late August. If so, Mr. Monegan should do something about it, because Ms. Palin was also planning to attend and did not want him nearby.
Somewhat bewildered, Mr. Monegan soon determined that Trooper Wooten had indeed volunteered for duty at the fairgrounds — in full costume as “Safety Bear,” the troopers’ child-friendly mascot.