Friday, September 22, 2023
HomePoliticsDunleavy unveils 'People First,' omnibus program to address justice, law and order

Dunleavy unveils ‘People First,’ omnibus program to address justice, law and order

Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced a “People First” initiative, which will be also be part of his 2023 budget that will be rolled out on Wednesday.

People First involves major investments in Alaska State Troopers, village public safety officers, ending human trafficking, support for foster care, and more.

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The various initiatives inside the program will involve statutory changes, budget expenditures, staffing additions, and administrative actions, with an initial cost of $750,000 and annual operating cost of $250,000. It rolls together existing programs such as Choose Respect with new efforts to reduce crimes against women.

“Safety and prevention are my administration’s top priorities, ever since I took office,” Dunleavy said. “My administration has been focused on reversing these troubling trends and statistics – we are proud to say that progress has been made.”

Alaska’s crime rate has declined for two years in a row since Dunleavy signed the repeal of Senate Bill 91 through House Bill 49.

“By adding major crime investigators in Bethel, Dillingham, Kotzebue, and Nome, clearing the backlog of sexual assault examination kits, collecting owed DNA, and increasing funding for the Tribal Compact with OCS, we are going to see a change happen in Alaska. But there’s still more work to be done,” he said.

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

The Dunleavy Administration will offer several statutory changes in an omnibus crime bill in January, when the Legislature meets:

  • addressing repeated violations of protective orders
  • expanding the definition of serious physical injury and elevating the level of offense
  • expanding the crimes considered to be domestic violence
  • providing bail notice to victims

The administration will seek $500,000 for the Alaska Family Justice Center feasibility study and implementation of a pilot program. The “Through One Door” comprehensive concept will assist victims with forensic and medical services, legal assistance, child/adult therapy, case management, legal aid, emergency housing/shelter assistance, and family assistance and resources.

The pilot program will have all victim services provided in one location in coordination with health and safety partners and agencies.

“The People First Initiative equips the Department of Law with the resources and support needed to help victims, bring perpetrators to justice and protect all Alaskans,” said Attorney General Treg Taylor. “This comprehensive effort will strengthen the work we’re already doing to make this state a better, safer place.”

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons

Dunleavy will create an Administrative Order that will form the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Council. In the Fiscal Year 2023 budget, we will seek funding for two Tribal Liaison positions within the Department of Public Safety and one position for the Missing Persons Clearinghouse.

“The Alaska Department of Public Safety and the Alaska State Troopers are committed to meeting our mission of ensuring public safety and enforcing fishing and hunting laws across Alaska,” said Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell. “Public safety is job number one for the Dunleavy Administration, and this new initiative is evidence of that. These additional resources to address the high rates of domestic violence, sexual assault, human sex trafficking, MMIP, and other important issues impacting Alaskans are welcomed in our efforts to make Alaska a safer place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Human/Sex Trafficking

Statutory changes regarding human trafficking will be in an omnibus crime bill that will clearly define human and sex trafficking. The bill will require that sex trafficking is a registerable sex offense. It will allow victims of sex trafficking to have their record expunged. Dunleavy will be issuing an Administrative Order reestablishing a task force focused on human and sex trafficking. In addition, law enforcing will be increasing officer training to recognize signs of trafficking and interceptions.

Foster Care and Office of Children’s Services

Dunleavy is taking steps to review the entire foster care system and focus on prevention to reduce the number of kids in foster care programs in the state, including a new Parent and Foster Parent Collaborative Council. As of this month, 3,027 Alaskan children are in the Office of Children’s Services’ care through foster parents. The administration will address transitioning programs for older foster youth, providing vocational opportunities and extended subsidies up to the age of 21. Demonstration projects with tribal partners will help establish evidence-based best practices that qualify for future federal funding opportunities and recognize Native cultural practices. The administration will focus on workforce stabilization aspects, such as pay and retention, adding a workforce wellness unit, a long-term, non-permanent supervisor unit, and increasing social service associates.


In coordination with the statewide database, the administration will establish a Statewide Homelessness Coordinator in the Office of the Governor and add a data manager position at Health and Social Services. Dunleavy will issue a new Administrative Order focused on reshaping the Alaska Council on the Homeless.

“Alaska has long struggled to address these issues, and this is long overdue,” Dunleavy said.Through collaboration between public, private, nonprofit and tribal partners, we can achieve these goals to put people first and make Alaska a better place for everyone.”

The overall budget rollout on Wednesday will see reductions overall, Dunleavy said. But the initiative will cost millions of dollars that will come from savings over in the past couple of years.

He said “the State can’t control everything but the state should be involved in the safety of its people, the safety of its kids, and the safety of its most vulnerable.”

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


      • So, in spite of the fact that there is no substantive evidence whatsoever of any voter fraud or irregularities that would make a difference in election outcomes, you want to spend money on looking for the wild goose you people want to chase.
        The lies about voter fraud are what have to go. Even
        Alice in her Wonderland wouldn’t buy into this one.

        • Actually there is zero substantive evidence that there is no substantive evidence, but thanks for parroting Psuki for us.

  1. People first?
    How about protecting citizens from coercion and firing for not taking the dangerous and ineffective clot shot!
    How about you be like a real governor like DeSantis or Abbott? What say?

    • I totally agree! I will not vote for Dunleavy again until I see the following:

      1. Authorize funding for a full review of the State’s election system and a canvassing of our voter rolls. The review needs to cover any electronic machines and a review/comparison of the digital voting logs and cast ballot images.

      2. He needs to protect workers medical freedom by issuing an executive order using the weight of the state in defending an individuals constitutional rights against any entities that violate a persons right to work and provide for their family due to unlawful and dangerous mandates. We are guaranteed by the Constitution the right to pursue happiness and have liberty in our life choices. Neither a business or the government can force a person to take an experimental drug against their wishes! To threaten a persons livelihood over this is criminal.

      3. He needs to challenge Dr. Zink on her flip flopping of vaccine facts and data. Alaska needs to start collecting the true data on these vaccines and how they are harming people’s health and are not needed when proper medication is given during early diagnosis. They are in fact very dangerous to children and pregnant women. The spike protein is being found to harm your internal organs, especially the heart, lungs and reproductive organs. The truth needs to be known and irresponsible doctors that have shutdown dissent should be investigated if they are taking payouts to protect Big Pharma.

      I intend to support Chris Kurka for governor because he is running on conducting an election audit and protecting our rights under the constitution

  2. At last, a worthy, substantive accomplishment of the Dunleavy administration, and long overdue for indigenous people and children. Well done and thank you, Gov. Dunleavy and staff!

    • Maybe. I recall a couple years ago the governor pledged troopers etc., etc, for bush villages, but I don’t recall hearing anything about that happening. This governor is all air. He hasn’t done one real thing, other than obstruct, since getting elected.
      When are we going to learn?

  3. Paid for with what cuts in state government?
    Democrat or Republican, makes no difference. Both spend like there is no tomorrow

    • That’s true, and we need to keep throwing out the legislators that stand in the way of smart cuts (Revak, Von Imhoff et al), but we are one of maybe two states in the entire union, over the last 3 years to actually cut their budget. It needs to be more than it is, we need better legislators, those who are less corrupt, have more integrity, more acumen, etc the list is long and we are poorly served as it is, but in an era when everyone is spending like these numbers are imaginary, just standing still is some sort of progress.

  4. Well I’m happy he’s finally looking at protecting Victims, but my family has been a victim of crooked Alaska government for the past 7 years. They have tortured us. They are torturing citizens and nobody cares until it happens to them.

  5. Since when do “indigenous people” deserve treatment and privileges over and above those afforded to all other Alaskan citizens? Can you say “Racism”?

      • Too late, I just did.
        And I will NOT apologize or sugar-coat the fact, either: Racism is rampant in Alaska, just not where all the radical leftists and wokesters like to pretend that it is.

    • You mean like real time trooper protection, useable water and sewer systems, durable medical help, and other stuff like we have in the Valley and Anchorage? I don’t know if it’s all about racism, but the idea does come to mind.

  6. If Dunleavy really wanted to protect the public safety he could start by instructing his Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Zink, to stop demonizing those folks who take responsibility for their own health! We never had an epidemic of the unvaccinated – we had an epidemic of the untreated & the obese. “Health Experts” such as Zink are responsible for thousands of needless deaths from Covid by spouting the official Covid Protocols dogma which turned into a disaster. In 2021 we have more Covid deaths than we had in 2020 before the mass inoculation with the clot shot. Why is that?

    • Close.
      Fire her and replace her with someone that doesn’t put wokeness and goose stepping over science.

      • Better yet, fire Dunleavy, let Annie stay and do her job, and maybe we can get back on track and stifle the virus.

  7. When I learned that children were being taken from homes by the AK Office of Children’s Services (OCS) based upon allegations and misinformation, as well as ignoring three weeks of home observations/ inspections as required, I became an advocate for those who have had their Children legally stolen from them.

    The first one was a mom who was serving as a caregiver for her landlord in exchange for housing and feeding Mom and her baby girl. One day she woke up and went to the kitchen to provide breakfast for her landlord, her baby and herself. Her landlord/ client had 2 guests who started calling her names and threatening her daughter. She told her landlord she would be in her room until her landlord/client’s guests had departed.

    An hour later the landlord yelled for her to come out of her room. She picked up her baby girl and went into the hall at the bottom of the stairway. Her landlord was at the top of the stairway waving a pistol and pointing it at Mom. Mom went back in her room after informing the landlord that she was calling the police.

    The police came, confiscated the gun and told Mom they were leaving since the danger had passed. She asked them to stay until she had emptied her room and put all her belongings in her truck. They said they were leaving in 10 minutes. She threw all of her little girl’s belongings in her baby bag and filled a garbage bag with as much of her belongings as she could gather in 15 minutes. When she got her truck loaded the police were leaving. She jumped in the truck and followed them out of the driveway.

    Mom knew she needed a place to live so she stopped at a girlfriend’s and asked her to watch her baby while she looked for housing. She learned that the police called OCS when a counselor called her for a meeting in a park. She had found housing and asked if the counselor wanted to check out her new home. The counselor said, “no. Where is your daughter?” Mom said she had a friend watching her because that Mom had several children for her daughter to play with her. The counselor went to her friend’s house and took the daughter and placed her in foster care.

    Of course, there’s a lot more to this tale than I’ve included here. But, the fact remains that OCS is taking children without any sort of investigation.

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