A first-of-its-kind investigation, 'Lawless': sexual violence in Alaska

Published: May. 17, 2019 at 7:12 PM AKDT
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If something bad happens in your home, like a criminal breaking in through the window, can you call 911 and expect a police officer at your door?

A new investigation has found that for Alaskans living in one in three communities across the state -- they don't have that option.

"We should be allowed to have the same services as the municipalities, like Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kenai, any of the big cities," says Ely Cyrus, Kiana City Administrator. "Unfortunately, Kotzebue is about 60 air miles away and the average response time is over 45 minutes if they hopped on a plane and came here directly, if there was a serious incident."

The investigation found that more than a third of communities in Alaska have no police of any kind. That means no troopers, no city cops, no tribal police officer.

"The state of Alaska has a responsibility for residents and citizens of the state to provide basic law enforcement," Cyrus says, "Just because we are remote or rural doesn't mean that we are not residents of the state."

The investigation also found that the number of village public safety officers, funded by the state, is at an all-time low. In some cases criminals are being employed as police, including at least two sex offenders.

Village leaders are saying they have trouble finding applicants to be police, and that they want more state support.

Anchorage Daily News investigative reporter Kyle Hopkins joined us in studio tonight to explain this more.

You can watch his special report above.

You can read Hopkins' full report

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