WATCH: Gov. Walker addresses public safety plan, drug help from feds

Published: May. 18, 2018 at 10:05 AM AKDT
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Gov. Walker public safety conference

Gov. Bill Walker is about to talk about his public safety action plan, and the state's recent designation as a high intensity drug trafficking area. See the story here (it will be updated later today as well):

Posted by Channel 2 News, on Friday, May 18, 2018

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Alaska will get a federal funding to help combat drug trafficking. Flanked by law enforcement officers and prosecutors the governor made that announcement Friday morning inside the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory.

In early May, Alaska became the 50th state to be added to a federal grant program aimed at combating drug trafficking. President Donald Trump's Office of National Drug Control Policy designated most of Alaska's boroughs and census areas as "high intensity drug trafficking areas."

The goal is to assist in coordination among law enforcement agencies in areas considered drug trafficking regions.

"It's another opportunity, a significant tool in the tool box," Walker said. "It comes with some funding to be able to again continue to work collaboratively on the drug issue across the state."

Walker said Alaska will receive some of the $250 million pot of money, which is spread across all 50 states. It's unclear how much money the state will get at this point.

Some of the money will be used for overtime, education and training for law enforcement. U.S. Attorney Brian Schroder said the designation will be key in fighting the drug epidemic, meth and opioid abuse in the state and the trickle-down effect of growth in crime as people steal and become destructive to feed their habits.

"It's money-- that's what it really is. It's giving us the additional tools that we need to be even more successful," Schroder said.

Additionally after crime bill HB 312 passed Walker says there will be big impacts on crime including five new prosecutors. One will focus on statewide drug prosecutions. And as new drugs come on the market, the Alaska Attorney General says her office will be able to react quicker to prosecute.

"We now have the ability to schedule drugs by emergency regulation in my office instead of having 2 or 3 years for new drugs to hit the street and then have the Legislature act, we can now act immediately and have those drugs be illegal immediately," Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth said.

The state will also hire two domestic violence and sexual assault investigators, and six positions for better records and classification in our criminal database system. The state will also modernize Alaska's 911 system and provide for $12 million in grants to combat substance abuse issues.