(WASHINGTON) — According to the Justice Department, “more than four in five American Indian and Alaska Native adults have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime, and more than half of all American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence from an intimate partner.”The DOJ says that the lack of law enforcement means that Alaska has a higher crime rate in these communities and an investigation done by ProPublica and the Anchorage Daily News found that sex crime rates are higher and help can be hours or days away.Attorney General William Barr has declared a law enforcement emergency in the state of Alaska due to the lack of law enforcement in remote areas.The geography of the state doesn’t lend well to law enforcement getting to remote areas quickly, the Department said.In total, the Department of Justice is allocating $10.5 million to Alaska law enforcement — $6 million coming from the Office of Justice Program’s Bureau of Justice Assistance for hiring, equipping and training village public safety officers and $4.5 million will be distributed by the COPS program for 20 officer positions.Barr visited the state in May to highlight these problems at the urging of Alaska’s congressional delegation.”In May, when I visited Alaska, I witnessed firsthand the complex, unique, and dire law enforcement challenges the State of Alaska and its remote Alaska Native communities are facing,” Attorney General Barr said.”With this emergency declaration, I am directing resources where they are needed most and needed immediately, to support the local law enforcement response in Alaska Native communities, whose people are dealing with extremely high rates of violence. Today, I am also directing each component and law enforcement agency of the Justice Department to submit plans within the next 30 days to further support federal, state and tribal public safety efforts in rural Alaska.”The move was lauded by local tribal leaders.”The Alaska delegation and AG Barr have seen firsthand the public safety crisis in rural Alaska and today have honored the requests from tribal leaders who seek to create safe and healthy communities. This funding is greatly appreciated and will be used to expand law enforcement and enhance public safety, creating safer environments for our women and children in our rural communities,” Victor Joseph, Chief/Chairman of the Tanana Chiefs Conference, a large tribal agency said.

 

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