VALLEY TROOPERS OVERWHELMED
As Gov. Bill Walker turns the state’s attention to his draft climate change policy this week, Mat-Su Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard remains focused on the issue of crime. She has sent Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan a letter with an urgent message:
Send more Alaska State Troopers to the Valley, she pleaded.
Sullivan-Leonard said that at a recent public safety forum hosted by Rep. DeLena Johnson of Palmer, public safety officials identified the need for at least 12 more Troopers. Crime is spiking everywhere, so Sullivan-Leonard will settle for six, for now, for the second-most populated area of the state.
A study earlier this year said that the Mat-Su B detachment of Troopers should have a staff of 71, which would necessitate hiring 26 more.
Whatever the number, Rep. Sullivan-Leonard said the need for more public safety officers should be a top priority of the governor.
Forty-seven Trooper recruits are going through the Public Safety academy in Sitka, Sullivan-Leonard said.
A recent study of Alaska State Troopers in the Mat-Su said the area is “chronically over-utilized,” which is trooper-speak for persistently heavy caseloads. The study, released in March by the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center, said the detachment handles 48,000 cases per year among its 45 Troopers, or more than 1,000 cases per trooper.
Read the UAA Justice Center report on public safety deficiencies in the Mat-Su:
Sullivan-Leonard pointed out this evening that climate change and smoke-free laws seem to be a higher priority than public safety in the Governor’s Office, but her constituents identify stopping crime as one of their top priorities.
In the Governor’s recent press release file, he covers many topics, but safety is not among them. Other than signing Bree’s Law and proclaiming “probation officers week” earlier this month, he has been absent on the topic.