Gov. Mike Dunleavy: Alaska refunded the police



Since the beginning of civilization, the primary purpose of government has been to protect public safety. The Founders acknowledged this in the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence, when they wrote of the God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. “To secure these rights,” they wrote, “governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Tragically, far too many Americans are living under governments that are failing to secure life and liberty. In many cases, prosecutors, mayors and city councils have abdicated this responsibility entirely. The “defund” movement and reforms that put criminals ahead of victims have caused a predictable rise in violent crime. Murder and car theft are skyrocketing, with no end in sight.

We’ve taken the opposite approach in Alaska, with far different outcomes.

The latest Crime in Alaska Report, based on data submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, showed that crime rates fell here for the third year in a row and are now at a 41-year low. As recently as 2017, Alaska’s crime rates were the highest in two decades. The steep decline hasn’t been an accident.

Violent crime dropped 9.7% in Alaska in 2021; property crime declined 17.3%. Crime fell in every category except arson, and that was attributable to one suspect linked to seven incidents.

Our report also reveals that Alaska’s rates of violent crime and rape remain unacceptably high and greater than national averages. We aren’t spiking the football, and we will continue working to drive down these crimes by placing more resources into our departments of public safety, law and corrections.

Alaska tried cutting its public-safety budget in the middle of the last decade. The objective of legislation known as Senate Bill 91 was similar to what we’ve heard from reform advocates in the lower 48 states: to reduce the prison population by essentially decriminalizing “petty” offenses and eliminating bail requirements. The number of state troopers was cut, posts were closed, and the ranks of village public-safety officers who work in remote Alaska communities fell by more than half.

More than property crimes like shoplifting and car theft soared as a result. The violent-crime rate reached a five-year high in 2018. In Anchorage, the state’s largest city, 2017 and 2019 ranked first and second all-time for homicides. As a state senator, I voted against S.B. 91, which was signed into law by my predecessor as governor in 2016. Seven months after taking office in 2019, I signed the repeal of that law.

While many police jurisdictions across the country are struggling to retain and recruit officers, Alaska has graduated two full classes from its two law enforcement academies this year. Our state troopers, village public-safety officers, local law-enforcement officers, prosecutors, probation officers and many others have contributed to the declining crime rate. They deserve our thanks and support. We won’t demonize or defund them. We will defend our people, and we will defeat those who victimize others.

There’s no greater responsibility of a government or an elected official, and here in Alaska we’re proving we take that job seriously.

Gov. Dunleavy wrote this for the Wall Street Journal, where it first appeared on Nov. 27, 2022.


  1. Governor Dunleavy: Congratulations!! Your convincing win with over 50% in the RCV that was designed to beat you, should silence your critics, but it won’t. Please remember that the majority of Alaskans support you, and that probably means the overwhelming majority of Alaskans. You beat the Recall and RCV. The envy of old Bill Walker will probably lurk in the shadows of your remaining four years. Beware of the residual revenge in the Senate, especially from that old battle ax, Giessel. We Alaskans, and the Conservatives at MRAK will help watch your back. Without question, we are grateful to you and consider you one of the best governors ever in the State of Alaska.


  2. That’s because alaska has a good principled REPUBLICAN Governor despite what nay-sayers say. If we had a democrat last four years we be either sleeping in our cars or making 1h rounds to check car is still there. To decline “rapes” try encourage teen and adult females use absistenance. We females don’t need to make-out, have sex, or invite a male over or go to his home hoping to maintain his interest in her. There are just too many boy stories coming out the boy or man was accused of rape when he thought it was consensual. How it all happened well its debatable.

  3. I really appreciate that you are standing up for funding our law enforcement entities. Now, how about looking into why the troopers will not investigate felony level crimes and instead take a ‘phone report’.
    My personal example: I had a former employee break into my shop and steal $2000 in cash, a $1000 laptop computer, and several hundred dollars worth of tools. When I called it in, I was told that my report was going to be taken over the phone and that he was not going to come to my shop. One friend had a stoner walk into his house. When he called the troopers, he was warned not to get violent with the man and that no trooper would be responding. Another friend went with an adult son to retrieve his personal belongings from an apartment. When the room mate threatened them, they called the troopers, asking them to stand by until his possessions were removed. Two troopers pulled up and told them to let the guy ‘cool off’ and left without getting out of their car. Ask around the Valley and you will find countless incidents of this happening.
    Having law enforcement in my family, I’m a huge supporter of the profession. But there has to be more than a snappy uniform before anyone can claim to be a cop. You still have to perform the job. And for a large group of us, they aren’t.

  4. And while your improving law enforcement in Alaska, maybe you could look into why a boat in Halibut Cove made repeated dangerous passes at a float plane with passengers. The troopers claimed to be ‘investigating’ but nothing has been done. A couple of interesting videos online that show the incident and even discuss the perpetrator. This happened in August and nothing has been done about it. Where are the charges?

  5. I’ll buy the governor’s claims to recent improvements in prosecutions and crime rates. SB91 was certainly the “road to Hell that is paved with good intentions.” Criminals are not swayed by social workers, at least not until they are securely behind bars.

    As a two-time victim of Anchorage-drunk-driver-hit-and-runs, and having been severely injured in one of these collisions, I will exclaim that much more needs to be accomplished with the prosecutions and hard-time sentencing of these terrible criminals. And every property crime is an attack on someone’s basic human right, which is the right to possess and enjoy the fruit of one’s labor in life. We ought to rank that human right high enough to defend our property with all the force necessary to prevent its loss to a thief.

  6. Bill Walker seen on the beach in Hawaii. Crying in his Singapore Sling. All by himself. Big Mike, you broke the old codger.

    • Alaskans recognize lying politicians. But they won’t tolerate a thief. Bill Walker was both. As well as a traitor and a friend to pedophiles (think Byron Mallott). Four strikes and he’s out ……for good.

  7. Funding and equity are huge issues to tackle. The abundance of State Troopers in the Mat Su which can afford to fund a Borough Police Force and the lack of a funding source of areas that are not in a taxing Borough creates another problem. Our mayor ought to scream that we pay for police and fire and others pay nothing or little. Leadership in this state on fiscal matters has always been terrible. We greatly fund little kingdoms and let the rest starve with substandard services. If you truly believe in small local government then find a method to fund it.

  8. The trouble with well-meaning people who assume that all criminals are the result of social conditions is that 10 – 20% are indeed predators and would be criminals no matter what. But the so-called “reformers” do not give up. So the rest of society suffers. States like California and New York are legal basket cases with people no longer willing to visit large cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Law Enforcement will always be needed and in many states is getting to be a more dangerous job every day. Alaskans need to be able to defend themselves from home invaders and attackers no matter where they live. Hopefully, Anchorage and Fairbanks will take note.

  9. The only purpose of government is to secure and defend the people’s RIGHTS. The people have an absolute right to defend their life and safety..

  10. DaveMaxwell……grow up, mister. I doubt Chrissy daydreams or fantasizes about strong leaders. She acknowledges them for their ability to make sound decisions. Do you daydream or fantasize about Nancy Pelosi? Have fun with that. Or in the alternative, maybe you still have fantasies about Bill Walker being elected as our governor?
    The old man who would have ruined our state with unconscionable agreements with the Communist Chinese, and who stole our statutory PFD, and worked with pedophiles in government.
    Mike Dunleavy makes Bill Walker look like a rat who jumped overboard swimming for his life.

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