The Justice Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage and the Alaska State Troopers are implementing a project to increase resident involvement in solving the problems of community safety in rural villages. The project, which is being conducted by the Justice Center, will compile information on public safety needs, preferences and expectations in a sampling of villages across the state. In addition, drug use patterns and criminal victimization information from throughout the state will be obtained for developing and evaluating Alaska Department of Public Safety substance abuse programs.
The project planning was initiated at the direction of Major Glenn Godfrey, Acting Director of the Alaska State Troopers, and has involved trooper support staff and operational officers. Major Godfrey anticipates the project resulting in a more complete understanding of citizen perceptions of drug and crime problems in the various regions and communities of Alaska. The Troopers intend to use this knowledge in assessing their programs and enhancing their effectiveness in assisting local citizens with the unique priorities of their communities.
The rural component of the study will involve village surveys administered on-site by a Justice Center research team. A survey instrument and study approach are first being tested in Hooper Bay. The Justice Center is working with the Alaska Native Justice Center, regional nonprofit corporations and other Native groups to identify other villages to be surveyed.
The project is being funded through a federal grant from the Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance. Department of Public Safety grants manager Catherine Katsel is administering the project for the Department of Public Safety. The Justice Center expects to complete the project in early 1995.