Alaska Justice Forum 21(4), Winter 2005

The Winter 2005 issue of the Alaska Justice Forum focuses on bush justice in Alaska, with a description of the work of the Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission, a review of past studies on improving public safety in rural areas of the state, and a bibliography of reports relevant to the Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) program. An additional article presents figures on the over $62 million in grant funds from the federal Office of Community Policing Services (COPS) received by Alaska police agencies since 1994.

"Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission"

Since the autumn of 2004, the federally-appointed Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission has been examining various aspects of rural justice services. This article reviews the areas upon which the commission is required to make recommendations, introduces an Alaska Justice Forum article related to the commission's work, and anticipates other Forum articles and Justice Center products on the commission's work and Alaska rural justice.

"Improving Public Safety in Rural Alaska: A Review of Past Studies" by Justin Roberts

The Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission, a federal commission appointed in the fall of 2004, is currently hearing testimony and debating potential recommendations on the future of rural justice and public safety in Alaska. One of the commission’s subject areas, public safety, has been the subject of dozens of reports in the twenty-five years since the inception of the Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) program. This article summarize the recommendations of these previous studies and reports in the areas of personnel selection, training, support, turnover, communication, resources, cross-deputization, and local control.

"Studies, Reports, and Documents Relevant to the VPSO Program"
compiled by Justin Roberts and the UAA Justice Center

This bibliography includes nearly fifty studies, reports, and documents, many available online, relevant to the Alaska Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) program, dating from the program's formulation in the late 1970s and actual inception in 1980 through the present.

"COPS Funds in Alaska"

Since the establishment of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) in late 1994, Alaska has received over $62 million in grant funds from the federal government for policing in communities throughout the state. According to figures released by COPS, the money has made possible the hiring of over 324.1 full-time equivalent police officer positions. Over 90 Alaska police agencies, communities, and tribal groups have received funds from COPS since 1994. Funding for the COPS program has declined in the last several years and its future is now in doubt. This article updates an earlier article by the same title in the Summer 2002 issue of the Forum.