A big part of Alaska’s law enforcement crisis is a program that recruits residents of remote villages and trains them to work as police. Now, a group of state legislators is proposing nine ideas to rescue the program.
The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica found small Alaska cities have employed police whose criminal records should have prevented them from being hired. Now, the state board is working to ensure they meet basic hiring standards.
More than a third of Alaska communities have no local police of any kind. Criminals have been hired as cops in some remote villages. A federal emergency has been declared and millions of dollars are promised, but here’s what else experts recommend.
Many remote Alaska Native villages have no law enforcement at all. But state troopers can be found in wealthier, and mainly non-Native, suburbs, where growing communities have resisted paying for their own police department.
A tiny Alaskan village got a police officer. He’s never had to make an arrest. Meanwhile, larger communities with more crime have often been left behind as the state’s two-tiered policing crisis gets worse.
Days before his death in 2005, Simeon Askoak told officials how an Alaskan rural policing program was broken. His village hasn’t had another permanent cop since.
To improve what it calls a public safety emergency, the DOJ detailed how it will spend $10.5 million. Alaska Native advocates want long-term reforms to increase their role in local justice systems as well.
Anna Sattler’s rape kit sat untested since 2001 as Alaska’s backlog got worse. Now, an ex-Iditarod musher faces charges, and she’s speaking publicly about the attack for the first time.
Long before city officials said they had no choice but to hire criminals as cops, justice evaded the Norton Sound village of Stebbins and neighboring St. Michael.
The seven officers in Stebbins, Alaska, explain their criminal records and what it’s like to serve as a police officer there.
Dozens of convicted criminals have been hired as cops in Alaska communities. Often, they are the only applicants. In Stebbins, every cop has a criminal record, including the chief.
At a gathering in Anchorage, the U.S. attorney general said he would work to provide greater security in rural areas.
At least one in three Alaska villages has no local law enforcement. Sexual abuse runs rampant, public safety resources are scarce, and Governor Mike Dunleavy wants to cut the budget.
We asked more than 500 organizations representing 195 communities if they employ a police officer of any kind. Of that number, 70 communities reported having no police at some point in 2019.
Something has changed in the way Alaskans talk about sexual assault. A yearlong partnership between the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica aims to highlight the stories of violence and survival in the final frontier.
The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica have teamed up to listen. Do you work with victims, in government or law enforcement? We need to hear from you, too.