AK House Majority
The 26th Alaska State Legislature, 2009 - 2010  
Sponsor Statement: House Bill 106

Village Public Safety Officers

Signed Into Law! Chapter 49 SLA 09
Sponsored by Rep. Reggie Joule

Co-Sponsors: Rep. Hawker, Rep. Kerttula, Rep. Tuck, Rep. Johnson
Ak Legislative MajorityAk Legislative Majority
Rep. Reggie Joule D-40
Ak Legislative Majority

Rep. Reggie Joule (D-40)
Chair, (L) ANW
Ak Majority Organization

Ak Majority Organization

Relating to grants to nonprofit regional corporations, and, in certain situations, to municipalities with populations of less than 10,000, for village public safety officers in rural areas; defining rural area for the purpose of the village public safety officer program; and authorizing municipalities to accept grants under, and contract with respect to, the village public safety officer program.

Posted: February 17, 2009 : v26-LS0402\E
Bill Version: CSHB 106(STA)(TITLE AM)
Status: Chapter 49 SLA 09 : 2009-07-07

Village Public Safety Officers (VPSOs) serve as first responders in rural Alaska when disasters such as fires, lost persons, and medical emergencies strike. They also provide the only consistent law enforcement and crime prevention services in the majority of Alaskan villages, which are without police forces and resident State Troopers. Under current State law (AS 18.65.670-680), regional nonprofit corporations receive grants to administer the VPSO Program. HB 106 would amend the law to enable boroughs with fewer than 10,000 residents to receive VPSO funds and administer the Program in place of regional nonprofit corporations.

Not all regional nonprofit corporations wish to or have the capacity to administer the VPSO Program, the consequence being that far too many villages are without a VPSO. For example, in the northwestern part of the State, one VPSO delivers public safety services to 11 villages. When an emergency arises in a village, it can take days or weeks for the VPSO to respond. This results in everyday citizens being compelled to take public safety into their own hands by detaining criminals, for example or worse villages in which no reaction to an emergency occurs. When and if State Troopers or the single VPSO in the region makes it to the scene of the crime or accident, evidence is often destroyed and the situation is far more critical than it would have been had a VPSO been immediately available.

HB 106 aims to make emergency response and law enforcement available to more residents of the State, not just those who reside in urban areas and the 43 towns in which State Troopers are based.

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2009-04-14 : [AUDIO] Rep. Joule Explains How HB 106 Expands the VPSO Program
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2009-02-26 : [AUDIO] Part 1 - Rep. Joule Discusses HB 106
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2009-02-26 : [AUDIO] Part 2 - Rep. Joule Discusses HB 106
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