Impact

While limited funding prevented the Commission from fully meeting its mandate, the Commission's initial recommendations influenced important decisions that have affected the delivery of essential public safety services in rural Alaska. In particular, progress has been made regarding enhancement of public safety capacity and infrastructure in rural communities:

  • The Department of Public Safety and U.S. Postal Service have agreed to cross deputize Postal Inspectors and Alaska State Troopers
  • An office and residence have been designated for use by a roving Alaska State Trooper in the Native Village of Selawik, so that the troopers do not have to rely on the regional hub as a home base. The Native Village Selawik community has requested increased trooper availability. A shortage of Alaska State Troopers is keeping DPS from establishing more sub-hubs as there are not enough troopers to meet this need.
  • The Department of Public Safety is providing additional funding to Native non-profit organizations to enhance Village Public Safety Officer salaries and reflect their additional service in providing probation and parole functions.
  • The Legislative Village Public Safety Officer Task Force recommended an increase of 15 Village Public Safety Officer positions for each of the next 4 years.
  • Village Public Safety Officer salaries have increased as a result of Task Force, from $17/hr to $21/hr.
  • The Department of Public Safety implemented a significant policy change that permits placement of Village Public Safety Officers in communities that are on the road system, where previously they were restricted to communities that were not on the road system.
  • The Department of Public Safety has made an internal policy adjustment that permits placement of a second Village Public safety Officer in communities with populations of sufficient size.