The Walker Administration’s Department of Administration is engaged in a review of job classifications for state investigators, and may be on the verge of creating new categories of gun-toting special investigators throughout state agencies, according to a whistleblower who has asked for anonymity.
According to draft state plans provided to Must Read Alaska, these special investigators – from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Labor to the Permanent Fund Division – will be packing guns during their investigations of workplace safety, regulatory compliance, and eligibility for benefits.
The documents were first made public by talk show host Amy Demboski. A review of the investigator positions at the state reveal there may be more than 100 positions that, while not public safety positions, may soon be granted the power of arrest.
Proposed changes in classification structure include the creation of a Special Investigator II position. The draft changes state that:
“Special investigators are distinguished from other investigative classes by the authority and responsibility to make physical arrests, issue citations, serve arrest warrants, and carry a weapon in accordance with their Certificate of Commission as a Special Officer and agency policies and procedures.”
“Special Investigator I: performs a variety of criminal, civil, and administrative investigations, compliance, and enforcement duties and tasks where assignments range from monitoring licensure compliance and enforcing regulation to conducting complex criminal investigations involving Municipal, State, and/or Federal law enforcement officers,” one description reads.
According to the whistleblower, the study of state investigator positions and the recommendations being made create new middle management positions, including the class of investigators who carry guns.
Troopers and police officers, before they can carry guns, must attend academy at thousands of dollars of expense to the State. They also must wear bullet-proof vests and spend time practicing on targets. The additional duty of carrying a weapon also adds liability costs.
Investigators for the state have functioned for decades without weapons and arrest authority by design: If they need an officer with them, investigators call in the State Troopers.
Must Read Alaska had veterans of state service at senior levels review the documents. They determined they are legitimate and represent how the Department of Administration has traditionally gone about reclassifying jobs.