Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Villages plead for resources to fight crime. AnchorageDailyNews article

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Villages plead for resources to fight crime

SAFETY OFFICERS: A Senate task force supports a $4.45-per-hour raise and filling 64 new positions.

By JAMES HALPIN
jhalpin@adn.com | jhalpin@adn.com

Published: January 29th, 2008 12:01 AM
Last Modified: January 29th, 2008 02:54 AM


Big pay raises and a doubling in force size are needed for the Village Public Safety Officer program, which is severely underfunded and under-equipped to fight crime in the Bush, according to an Alaska Senate task force report finalized Monday.

To improve -- and, in some cases, create -- law enforcement in Bush villages, the task force is recommending a nearly $4.45-per-hour increase in officer wages and the hiring of 64 safety officers in villages that have too few or none, which would more than double the existing force.

The main problems facing the safety officer program have existed since its inception in 1979, the report says.

"Our pleas for increases in the VPSO program were not being answered," said task force member Loretta Bullard, president of Kawerak Inc., a Native nonprofit operating in the Bering Straits region.

At the final meeting of the task force Monday, the group laid out its plans to answer those pleas, with recruitment and retention efforts at the top of the list.

The safety positions are often high-stress jobs that do not offer enough down time or counseling to officers who are faced with traumatic crimes, the report says. The few officers have little or no backup and are sometimes faced with arresting their own family members.

Officers often need to use their own homes to do their job. Low pay and few benefits offer qualified candidates little incentive to apply for and remain employed as safety officers, the report says.

"We just may be coming to grips with the fact that we're very far behind where we need to be, to be able to provide quality law enforcement in remote villages," said Sen. Hollis French, D-Anchorage.

To offset those drawbacks, the task force recommended increasing safety officers' base pay to $21 an hour, a significant raise from the current $16.55 but less than the original proposal of $22 per hour that was strongly opposed by Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan.

The initial proposal, which would have created wages that approach and in some cases could eventually surpass troopers' salaries, would lower troopers' morale, hurt trooper recruitment and possibly make the VPSO program unsustainable, he said.

PROGRAM ON THE WANE

In 1990, the VPSO program had 125 safety officer positions in 123 villages. Today, there are only 51 officers.

The task force's recommendation would increase the total to 115. That would include one safety officer for each village with a population of more than 150 and an additional officer in villages of more than 500 people. Villages that have either a trooper post or a local police department, like Barrow, would not need an officer.

The officers would be added at a rate of 15 per year over the next four years, according to the task force recommendation, to allow new officers to be phased in gradually as they are trained.

But even with a gradual phase-in, more safety officers will require more Alaska State Troopers -- and more money -- to supervise them, Monegan said.

"If we suddenly have a surge in VPSOs, which is good, I'm not going to have enough troopers in the Bush to supervise them," he said. "VPSOs were designed to augment troopers in the Bush, not overpower them."

According to the report, the program also needs an organized trauma debriefing program to help officers cope with job stress, and each community should get a $1,000 stipend per officer to help offset the cost of maintaining its public safety facilities.

The report calls for acceptable housing to be provided to the officers, though it does not specify how it would be paid for. Members of the task force said they plan to appeal to the Denali Commission and the Alaska Housing Authority for assistance.

The final version of the report will be submitted to the full Senate on Feb. 15. The Legislature will decide whether to fund the task force's recommendations.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Sarah Palin said Palin had not yet seen the proposal and could not specifically comment on it, including whether Palin would approve the increases in spending.

Whatever effects the recommendations might have, the report calls on the Senate to review them by February 2009.

"I don't want this issue to get pushed under the carpet," said Sen. Fred Dyson, R-Eagle River. "We've got lumpy carpets already; we're tripping over them."

Find James Halpin online at adn.com/contact/jhalpin or call him at 257-4589.

VPSO STARTING PAY

Current: $16.55 an hour; Proposed: $21 an hour

NUMBER OF VPSO POSITIONS

Current: 51; Proposed: 115

APPROXIMATE COSTS

Salary increases in FY 2009: $862,500*

New hires over four years: $4.45 million

Facility stipends over four years: $111,000

* Based on the initial proposal of $22 an hour

Source: Alaska Senate VPSO Task Force

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Comment

2Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - 3:10am | samuellflyinghorse

Villages Plead for Resources to Fight Crime.

This study is incomplete without Feedback from those of us whom already Served as VPSO's!!No one ever asked us, not that I'm aware of, how we felt about the Program, and no one asked us how our experiences were.It is true that "Most" officers are undertrained, ill equipped and that can be handled in due time.But what is theBiggest factor of all that needs to be addressed is SUPPORT for ...
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2 January 29, 2008 - 3:10am | samuellflyinghorse

Villages Plead for Resources to Fight Crime.

This study is incomplete without Feedback from those of us whom already Served as VPSO's!!

No one ever asked us, not that I'm aware of, how we felt about the Program, and no one asked us how our experiences were.

It is true that "Most" officers are undertrained, ill equipped and that can be handled in due time.

But what is theBiggest factor of all that needs to be addressed is SUPPORT for the incoming / New VPSO's and SUPPORT for the existing officers From theVillage,

From theTroopers themselves and from theNonProfits that hire the VPSO's.

Us VPSO's can do our jobs till our lil' Bootleggers come home!! and it don't mean a thing without theVillage!! helping to prosecute, punish, and reOrient theOffenders!!

I stayed in Minto AK for 2.5yrs and after an week of vandalism to my living quarters, to my Office, to my Patrol car and to my POV/my truck

I packed up and left overnight, because no one in theVillage cared anymore.

And the Commissioner should not ever worry about any higher pay raise overshadowing his precious Troopers and their standing in theState.

I respect them enough and know what they're going through- ehh.. to an extent!!

Most of theVPSO's I have known were Outsiders, like me-an Lakota (sioux) Native,

and we were Military men already having seen war & conflict to some degree,

So, don't worry much about training and equipment much, As I went into theVPSO program On theJob for 10months before Academy started the following Jan.

What matters most is if any villages WANT an officer. If they seriously want Officers amongst them and will not stop helping or supporting their Officers once they get them.

And how badly do theNonProfits want officers!?
When I left employment with TCC, they didn't rehire me into another Village or even take me as employee doing something else.

And 2 other native NonProfits looked at me and then declined,

And when I finally got an verbal agreement with Kawarek, a few days before I was to go out there for assignment to Savoonga, as the VPSO,

ms Valerie, then-Acting vpso coordinator for Kawarek, called me and refused me employment.

If I can be refused employment as VPSO when I still more than qualify, who's to say that there aren't More people out there whom are also refused employment by theState!?

There are, and I've met a few former VPSO's since My Own employment time whom are still Good people and willing to serve.

As for me, I left theVillage due to Apathy and overall non support by theVillage to help me help them.

And yes,
this news story is about More Talk, with nothing behind it.

Because I have seen some of these High ranking Public Safety leaders up close and they don't care about Natives at all. Period.

They only care about feeding off the teats of theState for 20 or 30+yrs and retiring rich.

sure the pay for VPSO currently is great, It's generous!! But pay isn't the issue.

It's still the long standing issues of Race, racism and various abuse and alcohol fuels it all.

this task force is not complete until it's sought out and heard from every former VPSO.

always,
theSam!!

Samuel L Flyinghorse
Minto VPSO 2/2001-10/2003
Badge #51, VPSO class #29!!
and still public Safety at Large.

AlaskaVillageTales

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1 January 29, 2008 - 1:48am | iditacom2

more talk

More talk with nothing behind it. Election year, promise us the moon.

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As Of Wed 30 January 2008 I copied the Comments Posted thus far to this ADN News article
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Villages plead for resources to fight crime : comments

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28 January 29, 2008 - 7:36pm | mianaqc

first responders!!!

The VPSO's are very highly trained officers exactly trained as a regular police officer that patrols the cities of anchorage and Fairbanks the only training they (vpso) don't get is the side arms (pistol) on top of that they go to the same school as the police officer goes to in Sitka,Alaska, So i think they do need the raise that is long over due.

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January 30, 2008 - 12:08am | fsrab2

Not all true

While the VPSOs do attend training at the same location as the other law enforcement officers in Alaska the training is not the same as that given to a city officer. The training a VPSO will receive is watered down, very little is discussed concerning felonies, and you are right they do not receive any firearms training.

When a VPSO graduates from the academy in Sitka and then works in a village none of that experience is credited towards being a certified police officer under the Alaska Police Standards Council.

However the VPSOs do receive training that police officers do not receive. A VPSO has to be a Firefighter, and Medic and a Search and Rescue coordinator.

A VPSO has to work ALONE, and they do deserve a pay raise, most VPSOs qualify to get food stamps.

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27 January 29, 2008 - 5:47pm | lilowlgirl

talk about it

talk about it. Its okay to talk about what you are thinking. Please dont let anybody stop you from what you are thinking. The problems in the villages and the people need to come forth as a means to continue the healing process. It is very hurful to people and widely unappreciated when people are abusive. Talk about your problems. Dont do it for me, do it for yourselves. Now I am the bad guy, who cares. There aint no good guys, there aint no bad guys, theres only you and me and we just disagree. Hell with it. find your favorite Jonny Cash album and party away.

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26 January 29, 2008 - 2:47pm | lilowlgirl

child sex abuse

child sex abuse is definitely a major problem in our villages. Not only have the pastors but mostly the Alaska native males. Pitterpatter sexually harassed me and ADN removed the comment. If there is any person who should be behind bars it should be PitterPatter. As for the rest of our people, it is a matter it time before the abuse stops.

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January 30, 2008 - 12:19am | pitterpatterofpaws

*

LOL!! Are you INSANE?? For one thing, MISTER, I never sexually harrassed you, and no comments of mine were removed. You, on the other hand, have had a whole SLEW of your comments removed. Seriously, ADN will be sending you a warning. Get a job, dude!

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25 January 29, 2008 - 1:20pm | steveconn

A few points to consider

1.With its property taxes on the oil
industry, the North Slope Borough opted
out of the VPSO program and set up its own police force.
2.VPSOs lack the credentials of real
police and are forced to act as an extension of rural troopers. This is an exercise in turf protection by the troopers that is entirely inappropriate for modern Alaska native villages.
3.This colonial model was borrowed
from Canada, but Canada scrapped
it years ago. It has an historical
antecedent in Indian police created by the Army before there was a civil government.
4.Alaska cities and the troopers could draw on credentialed rural police to the benefit of everyone.

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24 January 29, 2008 - 1:13pm | pitterpatterofpaws

LILOWLGIRL~

Dude! Give it up. We all know you are a man. Well, "man" may not be the appropriate word for you. But you ARE male, NOT a little girl. Enough, already. You're boring us, now!

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January 29, 2008 - 1:26pm | lilowlgirl

how dare you !Watch out for the Online Predator!

How dare your talk about my underwear. My underwear is none of your business. Your probably one of the people like on "To Catch a Predator"

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January 29, 2008 - 1:53pm | pitterpatterofpaws

*

Do you REALLY think you are hiding behind your silly screen name? Do you realize you CAN be found? Starts with your e-mail address, and then your internet service provider...and then...well, you get the picture! So if I were YOU, I would get rid of all that kiddie porn on your computer before your wife finds it. But guess what? It can STILL be found. Be afraid. Be very afraid. You don't want your picture plastered all over the news paper, and then the sex offenders web site, do you? Well? Do you?

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23 January 29, 2008 - 12:48pm | lilowlgirl

feelings

I learned about feelings with my school counselor. She said that it is important to know how you feel about yourself and why you feel that way. I just wish that more of my people knew more ways to deal with their feelings. I moved from the village when I was 12. It was a sad place to be. Sometimes I still feel sad when I think about my village. I miss my grandma and grandpa.

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22 January 29, 2008 - 12:39pm | lilowlgirl

just got out of history

I just read an important point. Not all of the natives have problems from alcohol. There are other factors which hurt our people of Alaska such as mental illnesses like depression. It runs deep and wide as the rivers in the natives. Alcoholism is a factor which stems from mental illnesses that run deeper in the individuals. Our people use alcohol to stop the hurt of depression but alcohol makes us hurt more. I tried to drink and I like it, but I am not addicted and dont want my parents to know. I have a job and my job keeps me from the drinking but then they(my parents) drink too. toot, toot. winkees,

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21 January 29, 2008 - 12:15pm | msroque

COLA structure for State Employees needs overhaul

The entire structure of what state employees are getting paid needs overhaul. Milk is $8.69 a gallon in Dillingham (and Barrow, Bethel, et al)... & is probably $3.00 (??) in Anchorage. The state employees in these communities maybe get 27% more as a COLA adjustment.

The VPSO's aren't represented by a union like the Troopers are. It's high time they get 25%+ more in wages, they've been rowing the boat for years out there! I say pay them retroactively for the past twenty years.

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20 January 29, 2008 - 12:07pm | myspacer

geez...

I get tired of hearing people always saying that the natives people problems all come from drinking, this is NOT true...

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19 January 29, 2008 - 12:04pm | johnson_brentw

Nice of the State

While I agree VPSO's need more money. It is interesting to say the least that they are proposing a 25% pay raise for VPSO's, but the state just offered the Troopers a contract with a 3% pay raise. We can't recruit enough Troopers as it is, yet the state will only offer a 3% raise when inflation is around 4 1/2%

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18 January 29, 2008 - 11:42am |

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17 January 29, 2008 - 11:16am | lifeaknative

Hmmm

Lil owl girl must have had to go back to class.

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January 29, 2008 - 1:15pm | pitterpatterofpaws

*

lilowlgirl is NOT a little girl!

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16 January 29, 2008 - 11:14am | dkshoreline

Lilowgirl - not educated?

Maybe you are looking the mirror & seeing your own reflection - your grammar, spelling, and punctuation are atrocious. Time for you to go back to school girlie, unless someone mistakes you for being uneducated (maybe the proper word here would be unschooled) BUT you are obviously ignorant. I have seen plenty of drunk & violent non-Natives in the village. In fact, many of the non-Natives import booze & drugs into the village - their "educated" status does not make them immune to greed.

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15 January 29, 2008 - 11:11am | hpwells

Marijuana and alcohol

is the #1 problem in our village, our community was elected to dry status years ago, but alcohol flows like water here. I'm sure some money can be made off these criminals to help fund village enforcement. Easy money is too enticing for the narrow minded to consider his fellow villager. As for the cursed thistle, how can we overcome such an addictive drug when it's legalized by popualr majority? which takes me to hedonism-pleasure for pleasures sake, all I can presently say is "thank God" we don't have drugs like; Cocaine, Heroin, and Meth.

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14 January 29, 2008 - 10:41am | emandj

I thought

the elders used to handle situations in their tribal court.If so why was this changed?Did guns,whiskey and cocaine have something to do with this?Just curious.

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January 29, 2008 - 11:22am | hpwells

Some villages have it, others don't.

How I wish we did, but to have law and order is impairative for social, economic, and mental stability.

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13 January 29, 2008 - 9:58am | neil_cook

It is the state's

It is the state's constitutional obligation to provide public safety to all communities and the amount of funding for these basic services have been disproportionately under-funded. Somebody mentioned the Molly Hootch case:

- The State of Alaska was discriminating against Native communities by failing to provide basic education funding to provide schools, and funding schools. This was in clear violation of the 14th Ammendment of the U.S. Constitution.

If the State continues to under-fund public safety in Alaska, Native communities should organize another case against the state. I'm surprised it hasn't happened already. But Alaska Natives are smart and once they organize, then you will see some real change.

Many Native Corporations are improving the way of life in rural Alaska by providing dividends that off-set high costs of living, or providing education, training and employment. They are helping to empower communities and Alaska Natives, but you cannot take away the responsibility from the state to provide basic services, education, public safety, etc.

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January 29, 2008 - 10:09am | rnave621

Probably because these

Probably because these native communitys dont have the funding to provide for their own public safety. If you cant afford to have a police department you arent guaranteed one by the constitution.

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January 29, 2008 - 10:19am | lifeaknative

WHAT???

Anchorage is also being funded by the state. What makes you so special?

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January 29, 2008 - 10:22am | rnave621

Paid for by the city

Anchorage Police Department isn't funded by the state it is paid for by the municipality. That is the difference just like every local police department that is paid for by the municipality.

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January 29, 2008 - 10:34am | neil_cook

Not entirely accurate

The Anchorage Police Department is paid for and has been funded in various ways for many different reasons:

- Bonds paid for by Anchorage citizens
- Federal dollars
- State funding

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January 29, 2008 - 10:40am | lifeaknative

*

THANK YOU!!!

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January 29, 2008 - 10:38am | rnave621

It is entirely accurate

The budget for the Anchorage Police Department is paid for by the city of Anchorage. The department does recieve some federal money for projects and grants.

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January 29, 2008 - 10:42am | neil_cook

You missed the point. You

You missed the point. You said the Anchorage Police Department isn't funded by the State. APD does receive some of their funding from the State of Alaska.

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January 29, 2008 - 1:18pm | rnave621

You missed the point in that

You missed the point in that the constitution of the State of Alaska doesn't guarantee a village its own police force.

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January 29, 2008 - 1:56pm | neil_cook

Actually I'm right on the

Actually I'm right on the point and again, you said the State doesn't pay for APD when in fact it does support a portion of APD's budget. Yes, the Municipality oversees the Anchorage Police Department, but they do receive funds from local taxpayers, the Federal government and the STATE OF ALASKA.

The constitution doesn't say it will provide a village its own police force, but it has a mandated obligation to provide "Public Welfare" which includes public safety, especially in unorganized boroughs.

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12 January 29, 2008 - 9:34am | cmenadelook

VPSO

When I lived in "the village" the number one response to our calls to the state trooper office was that they didn't get involved in disputes between natives. Alaska is a P.L. 280 state and as such has publicly decreed that the native village tribes and corporations do not have criminal jurisdiction. This decree has crippled any help for the majority of crimes that happen in village throughout Alaska. The villages have been forced to wait for troopers to come in "when it is relevant". This is discriminatory and the VPSO program needs our help. It shouldn't matter where we are or who we are ALL CRIMES ARE RELEVANT

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11 January 29, 2008 - 9:37am |

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January 29, 2008 - 9:45am | lifeaknative

You don't know S**T

Grow up little Girl, obviously you aren't at all educated with that stupid little racist remark. Why do stupid people like you have to come out with these idiotic racist remarks all the time. Does it make the ugliness in you make you feel pretty? It's people like you that make this a very bad world to live in.

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January 29, 2008 - 9:43am | neil_cook

Your views are blatantly

Your views are blatantly stereotypical. I know many, many, many educated Natives, and I know many many uneducated Caucasians.

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January 29, 2008 - 9:41am | neil_cook

I think the person you

I think the person you should be calling racist is you.

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January 29, 2008 - 9:45am |

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January 29, 2008 - 9:58am | lifeaknative

*

Again, Grow up Little Girl

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January 29, 2008 - 10:14am |

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January 29, 2008 - 11:24am | bubukity

Why must ya bash on the

Why must ya bash on the asians yo?

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January 29, 2008 - 10:54am | pitterpatterofpaws

*

What a joke you are! You said you are 15. And you've already been spreading your legs around? If you WERE a little girl, I'd say it sucks to be you. You'll just end up being an overly trampled tramp! (Now THAT'S funny!) But we all know you are actually a man. A slob of a man, at that. Sitting naked at your computer trying to pass yourself off as a little girl. Is that what you REALLY wanna be? Maybe you AREN'T naked, but are sitting there wearing your wife's underwear. Do those silk panties feel good? And the penis remarks? I think you are talking about yourself. Yup, it's gotta SUCK to be you! LOL! I bet you GIGGLE like a little girl, too. You're gross! :P

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January 29, 2008 - 10:35am | hpwells

Twoheadedwolf disguised as a

girl.

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January 29, 2008 - 10:37am | lifeaknative

Ha Ha

I wanted to say something to that affect, but one of them is bad enough don't you think.

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January 29, 2008 - 11:31am | hpwells

I think a little marination

is good for the boy, maybe it will resonate, so feel free to add a little spice to the sauce.

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January 29, 2008 - 10:18am | lifeaknative

Must have been Rejected

You are even more ignorant than I first thought. I won't even waste my time on a dumbs**t like you.

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January 29, 2008 - 10:34am |

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January 29, 2008 - 10:59am | lifeaknative

Just Have to know

You say that Natives are uneducated. Well tell me, (and be honest) Exactly how far in education did you go? Cause the more you go on, to me it sounds like you really are just a little girl, and are probably still in Jr. High. And if you really are that young, then I feel sorry for you that you have already been sleeping around. Is it to make you feel worthy? Poor Poor Little Girl.

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10 January 29, 2008 - 8:13am | trudymae

troopers can become vpso

It would be a great move for Troopers to consider becoming a VPSO. How long does it take for regionalized Troopers to respond to emergencies in villages? Too long, oftentimes. It would be a positive move for those Troopers to live in villages and provide enforcement in the areas that desperately need it.

If a VPSO program ends up having a more attractive salary and benefits program than the Trooper program, great! It's long overdue.

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January 29, 2008 - 6:12pm | waynebvs

Troopers becoming VPSO's

After several tours in the bush as a Trooper, I would not want to be a VPSO for any amount of money. The living conditions, though crude in many places, are not the main reason. Time and time again, villagers refuse to help their VPSO's. People with personal knowledge of serious crimes, witnesses, and victims refused to to "get involved". If one did, it was usually an "elder". Many of whom have enough of a sense of civic responsibility to speak up even though they may face ridicule, or worse, being harrassed or terrorized for providing important information to the VPSO.

Many of the people who commented on every side topic and distraction from the main subject have knowledge of crimes and the persons who were guilty, but would not speak up. You know who you are. Before you go o pontificating about what's wrong with the system, look in your mirror.

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January 29, 2008 - 8:32am | geodnew

I doubt that

you would find many troopers who would be willing to live in the villages.

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Villages plead for resources to fight crime : comments

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January 29, 2008 - 9:33am | msroque

State Troopers should be

State Troopers should be required to go to the villages for about 5 years ... not the minimal 2 --- right now, they go out to bush Alaska for their two "big retirement years" & they don't even get a chance to get their feet wet then they move on. That's half the problem -- no continuity out in the villages; the VPSO's are supposed to have an "Oversight" Trooper -- they do but it changes so quickly with the troopers coming and going in rural Alaska, the villages are the ones robbed of justice.

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January 29, 2008 - 10:07am | rnave621

The troopers are having a

The troopers are having a hard enough time recruiting as it is, and you want to make it mandatory for them to be in the villages for 5 years. The 2 years right now is a big reason why more people arent applying to the troopers. Who wants to be stuck out in the village dealing with thier problems and being viewed as "the white man" who causes all the problems.

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January 29, 2008 - 11:52pm | fsrab2

Troopers are NOT in the

Troopers are NOT in the VILLAGES they get stationed in the hubs, very few villages have a Trooper stationed there.

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January 29, 2008 - 12:01pm | msroque

public servants...

Troopers are public servants... and with that title, maybe the administration could structure their contracts with the unions to 'serve the public'..which means incorporating the villages of Alaska.

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9 January 29, 2008 - 7:45am | zinger

Didn't Murkowski

yank the funds on the VPSO program?? Having lived in villages for 16 years I have alot of respect for all of the law enforcement officers that work in the bush but I believe they need more funds and more backup than they get. The VPSO's I worked with and around tried very hard to do their jobs and alot of the times the people that lived there would not stand behind them then it was difficult for the VPSO to have to wait on weather for the troopers to show up.

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8 January 29, 2008 - 7:23am | yuki40ml

paying for serives

Some of you are asking that Natives should pay for their fair share of the cost. I a native agree with you and say to you we who are fortunate enough to even have a job or own stock in a private corporation do just that. With the taxes we pay I claim that we even pay for some of your public services. The problem comes when we look at the relative cost for services through out Alaska (cost more in rural areas) combined with who holds the purse strings of the taxes collected we see just a trickle or token amount going to the bush and every thing going to the cities (where the holders of the purse strings live). Don’t you think it would be fair since you and I pay the same tax I in the village get the same quality of services you get?

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7 January 29, 2008 - 6:11am | fsrab2

It is the same old story,

It is the same old story, year after year the State talks about improving the VPSO program but nothing happens.

I was a rural law enforcement officer for over 18 years, working as a VPSO, Police Officer and Police Chief. I was a certified police instructor; I taught classes to other officers including Troopers. I had more training and was more qualified than the Troopers who were suppose to be my supervisors. Why did I leave the program? A job related injury forced me out, had I been working for a city department I would have been given a desk job or I would have trained other officers. With the VPSO program there was no other position for me, I had to leave. I could have taught at the Public Safety Academy or worked out of the Non-profit office as a support officer.

I testified before the State a few years back about the need for better pay, training, more officers and equipment. What happen back then? Nothing. When the State decided to discuss the VPSO program did they contact me or other officers I knew? No, as usual the State did not contact former VPSOs to ask for advice about making improvements in the program.

Will better pay help keep the men and women serving as a VPSO? Maybe some will stay because of more money, but money isn't everything. The officers need to have more support from the local people, the Troopers and the Non-profits that employ them.

The Commissioner is worried that VPSOs will become more than what the Troopers want them to be, they might become equal to them. What needs to be done with the VPSO program is to stop considering it as a “program” it has been around for close to 30 years. VPSOs need to become more; they need to become their own department, with VPSOs in charge of the agency. Who better to understand what a VPSO is going through than someone who has been there? Troopers don’t know what it is like to work like a VPSO, without back up or a weapon.

If the State really wanted to help the VPSOs then they need to get a hold of those of us who are and were VPSOs. Don’t ask the Troopers what should be done, don’t ask the Non-profits or Village and City Councils what needs to be done. Ask those of us who put our lives on the line day in and day out what needs to be done, and then DO SOMETHING!

Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed working as a VPSO I would still be doing it if I hadn’t been forced to retire.

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January 29, 2008 - 6:52am | msroque

let's give our Gov a chance

let's give our Gov a chance on this one... I think we've finally got a Governor to hear the village cries for help. Amen.

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January 29, 2008 - 8:20am | jacekone

Fair enough

I'll be waiting to see IF the Gov addresses the safety problems in the village. But, why are the villagers the ones who must always wait? Remember "Molly Hootch."

Villages are not a priority because there is no voting bloc.

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January 29, 2008 - 9:31am | msroque

That's where I expect our

That's where I expect our legislators to go to bat for the villlage with a very heavy bat.... and keep swinging until they hit the ball! We need something more than lip service from those we've elected. They often get to Juneau & the villages are a blur in the haze. Let's hold them accountable.

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6 January 29, 2008 - 6:14am | msroque

21 years ago....the state needs to pony up!

Why should people in rural Alaska have any less state service than those in urban Alaska? It's high time the State pony up and pay for the work the VPSO's are doing. Not only do they provide police service --- they respond to EMS emergencies, requests from the courts for service, etc. They get a smidgen of training & then are sent off to fix the villages... They are truly the unsung heroes of the Alaska State Troopers & it's high time they get some of the same benefits that the Alaska State Troopers get, they're doing their jobs for them in small villages often arresting family members & friends. They're jobs are basically 24/7 for a pittance of what Troopers get.

About 21 years ago as a police dispatcher I took a call from King Salmon, Alaska --- the call was that a VPSO had been shot & killed -- the VPSO was unarmed and had no chance... the State's had years to do a better job, it's high time they pony up & do it. As far as I know, the VPSO's are still unarmed..why is that?

This is not a native - non native issue... it's a State of Alaska issue.

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January 29, 2008 - 6:16am | fsrab2

It was in 1976 when this

It was in 1976 when this happen, the VPSO who was killed was a friend and had taught me at the Academy. The VPSOs are still not armed and forced to respond to calls alone, if these types of calls happen in a city at least 2 officers or Troopers would be responding. VPSOs are required to do things other law enforcement officers would not do alone.

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January 29, 2008 - 6:24am | msroque

No, this was 10/22/1986

We lost VPSO Ron Zimin as he was responding to a Domestic Disturbance.

According to this website, www.akpeaceofficermemorial.org, he was the first VPSO killed in the line of duty.

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January 29, 2008 - 11:46pm | fsrab2

Yes it was in 1986, when I

Yes it was in 1986, when I wrote 1976 it was a typo

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5 January 29, 2008 - 5:43am | ictw57

cost

Why do the Native Corps. not help there own, on their own land and, allegedly not subject to the same rules. They could impose some sort of property tax or sales tax to help fund their own cost. No better to get some one else to pay for it.

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January 29, 2008 - 11:49am | dkshoreline

Native Corporations

The Native corporations have only duty to their shareholders - which is to increase the value of the company. The federal government, and the State of Alaska, do not recognize the Regional or Village Native corporations as tribal governments - they have no enforcement powers and their corporate mission is not provide governance to the rural communities.

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January 29, 2008 - 9:39am | neil_cook

Because it's the state's

Because it's the state's constitutional obligation to provide public safety in all communities.

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4 January 29, 2008 - 4:54am | ElDiabloGrande

All those Villages are not part

of rich corporations. The ones that are do need to contribute, the others definatly need help.

Alcohol, drugs, molestation and incest along with a murder every so often needs to be taken care of, and there sure isn't enough troopers out there to do the job.

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3 January 29, 2008 - 4:29am | geodnew

Native Corporations

are raking in millions of dollars. Let the corporations fund the VSPO's. Isn't it time that villages assumed responsibility for their own people?

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January 29, 2008 - 9:51am | eliagfunkera

Not all native corps...

are rakin in the dough. There are some native corporations that are barely surviving and that only receive a small portion of the pie from the other more prosperous native corporations.

Besides, (and I don't know if you are a city dweller)...how many private corporations/businesses do you know that funnel their money to the Anchorage Police Department?

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January 29, 2008 - 9:50am | neil_cook

It is the state's

It is the state's constitutional obligation to provide public safety to all communities. Again, it is not corporations responsibility. Many Native Corporations are improving the way of life in rural Alaska by providing dividends that off-set high costs of living, or providing education, training and employment. They are helping to empower communities and Alaska Natives, but you cannot take away the responsibility from the state to provide basic services, education, public safety, etc.

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January 29, 2008 - 9:20am | lifeaknative

Some have assumed responsibility

I don't know about all villages but I know in our village we do contribute part of the VPSO's salary and that has nothing to do with the Corporation. But because of some of the negatives that have happened in other villages like someone being murdered, (that has never ever happened in our village) it is hard to get someone to commit to coming and living in our village. Not to mention the isolation, and some of the unfounded rumors that are spread by people that are going on heresay and don't actually know anything about the life we have and the way we live it.

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January 29, 2008 - 8:52am | t2undra

Oh, that's a really great idea...

I think that should happen the same day that the Alaska State Troopers serving the urban areas of the state should have to turn from state funding and go hat in hand to corporate businesses.

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January 29, 2008 - 8:14am | jacekone

Okay

And so you must also believe that Anchorage citizens should self-police, since that is your suggestion for the villages.

ANC's have no authority to police. Check out the State Corporation Code if you don't believe me. That's contains the regulations for all ANC's - both village and regional.

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January 29, 2008 - 8:30am | geodnew

You missed the point

I said that the Native Corporations should assume some of the costs of maintaining VSPO's in villages. Anchorage citizens are not responsible for crime in the villages. Native Corporations should shoulder some of the responsibilities in carring on the program.

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January 29, 2008 - 11:54am | dkshoreline

Corporate contributions to government

Maybe Alyeska, Conoco, & BP can start subsidizing directly the village communities in the rural areas they operate - hey, they can pay more taxes!! Paying taxes, which the oil companies and Native corporations alike have to do, is how they contribute to police protection and other government services. But how the collected taxes are spent is decided by the federal and state government.

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January 29, 2008 - 9:48am | neil_cook

It is the state's

It is the state's constitutional obligation to provide public safety to all communities. Again, it is not corporations responsibility. Many Native Corporations are improving the way of life in rural Alaska by providing dividends that off-set high costs of living, or providing education, training and employment. They are helping to empower communities and Alaska Natives, but you cannot take away the responsibility from the state to provide basic services, education, public safety, etc.

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January 29, 2008 - 8:34am | iwethey

Anchorage is not resposible for supplyiny oil from the slope

but you seem to reap a lot of benefit from it, jobs, infrastructure, government.kwitcher bitchen

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2 January 29, 2008 - 3:10am | samuellflyinghorse

Villages Plead for Resources to Fight Crime.

This study is incomplete without Feedback from those of us whom already Served as VPSO's!!

No one ever asked us, not that I'm aware of, how we felt about the Program, and no one asked us how our experiences were.

It is true that "Most" officers are undertrained, ill equipped and that can be handled in due time.

But what is theBiggest factor of all that needs to be addressed is SUPPORT for the incoming / New VPSO's and SUPPORT for the existing officers From theVillage,

From theTroopers themselves and from theNonProfits that hire the VPSO's.

Us VPSO's can do our jobs till our lil' Bootleggers come home!! and it don't mean a thing without theVillage!! helping to prosecute, punish, and reOrient theOffenders!!

I stayed in Minto AK for 2.5yrs and after an week of vandalism to my living quarters, to my Office, to my Patrol car and to my POV/my truck

I packed up and left overnight, because no one in theVillage cared anymore.

And the Commissioner should not ever worry about any higher pay raise overshadowing his precious Troopers and their standing in theState.

I respect them enough and know what they're going through- ehh.. to an extent!!

Most of theVPSO's I have known were Outsiders, like me-an Lakota (sioux) Native,

and we were Military men already having seen war & conflict to some degree,

So, don't worry much about training and equipment much, As I went into theVPSO program On theJob for 10months before Academy started the following Jan.

What matters most is if any villages WANT an officer. If they seriously want Officers amongst them and will not stop helping or supporting their Officers once they get them.

And how badly do theNonProfits want officers!?
When I left employment with TCC, they didn't rehire me into another Village or even take me as employee doing something else.

And 2 other native NonProfits looked at me and then declined,

And when I finally got an verbal agreement with Kawarek, a few days before I was to go out there for assignment to Savoonga, as the VPSO,

ms Valerie, then-Acting vpso coordinator for Kawarek, called me and refused me employment.

If I can be refused employment as VPSO when I still more than qualify, who's to say that there aren't More people out there whom are also refused employment by theState!?

There are, and I've met a few former VPSO's since My Own employment time whom are still Good people and willing to serve.

As for me, I left theVillage due to Apathy and overall non support by theVillage to help me help them.

And yes,
this news story is about More Talk, with nothing behind it.

Because I have seen some of these High ranking Public Safety leaders up close and they don't care about Natives at all. Period.

They only care about feeding off the teats of theState for 20 or 30+yrs and retiring rich.

sure the pay for VPSO currently is great, It's generous!! But pay isn't the issue.

It's still the long standing issues of Race, racism and various abuse and alcohol fuels it all.

this task force is not complete until it's sought out and heard from every former VPSO.

always,
theSam!!

Samuel L Flyinghorse
Minto VPSO 2/2001-10/2003
Badge #51, VPSO class #29!!
and still public Safety at Large.

AlaskaVillageTales

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January 29, 2008 - 8:22am | jacekone

Thank you

I appreciate you posting this along with your identifying information. We must listen to everyone involved in this problem in order to find a solution.

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1 January 29, 2008 - 1:48am | iditacom2

more talk

More talk with nothing behind it. Election year, promise us the moon.

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January 29, 2008 - 5:20am | Skeptical

Do you mean to tell me that

Politicians will tell us how pro-public safety they are, then pose for the cameras with the newly minted officers for their campaign brochures, only to underfund, underequip, and understaff those same positions with each passing year? Say it ain't so!!!

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