Fact Finding

Public Hearings

The Commission conducted extensive fact-finding, the results of which informed its deliberations and decision-making. The Commission conducted fifteen public hearings at eleven locations throughout Alaska, during which commissioners heard from a wide range of individuals who offered oral and/or written testimony (testimonies are available for download). Just prior to or following these public hearings, the Commission frequently conducted business meetings that were open to the public.

Work Groups – Phase I

During its second public hearing, conducted in Fairbanks on November 10, 2004, the Commission established four work groups to assist in gathering information relating to the topic areas prescribed by the Congressional language:

  1. Law Enforcement
  2. Alcohol Importation
  3. Domestic Violence and Child Abuse/Neglect
  4. The Judiciary

Each group, comprised of individuals with substantial experience and expertise in its topic area, developed recommended options to address the topic area. The workgroups provided the Commission with a total of 104 options, as well as transcribed oral testimony and written testimony gathered from many of the public hearings.

On May 2005 the Commission reviewed the workgroup options and adopted those options that would be included in its 2006 Initial Report and Recommendations.

Work Groups – Phase II

After issuing its 2006 Initial Report and Recommendations, the Commission established four new work groups and directed each group to make more detailed recommendations on specific issues assigned by the Commission. The Commission directed each work group to make recommendations regarding implementation of one of the following concerns:

  • Increased local control over alcohol and drug interdiction in rural Alaska
  • Statewide, uniform and tiered system of certification and training for VPSOs, VPOs and other public safety personnel serving rural communities
  • Prototype Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate tribal-state cooperation under the Indian Child Welfare Act
  • Use existing technology to improve law enforcement and judiciary capabilities in rural communities

The work groups used as a departure point work that had been completed during the first phase of the Commission's work. After deliberating over several months, each of the four work groups made detailed written recommendations to the Commission, which they presented during a special session with the Commission, and responded to questions from the Commission regarding details of the recommendations. These recommendations can be found in Appendix C to the January 2012 Report to Congress and the Alaska State Legislature. The Commission incorporated many of these recommendations into its January 2012 Report to Congress and the Alaska State Legislature.