Legislature(2019 - 2020)SENATE FINANCE 532

01/24/2019 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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03:05:16 PM Start
03:06:41 PM Confirmation Hearing(s):
04:55:20 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time & Location Change --
- Joint with Senate Judiciary -
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
- Commissioner-Designee Dalhstrom, Dept. of
Corrections
- Commissioner Designee Price, Dept. of Public
Safety
-- Teleconference <Invitation Only> --
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                         JOINT MEETING                                                                                        
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                        January 24, 2019                                                                                        
                           3:05 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATE JUDICIARY                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 Senator Shelley Hughes, Chair                                                                                                  
 Senator Lora Reinbold, Vice Chair                                                                                              
 Senator Mike Shower                                                                                                            
 Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                         
 Senator Jesse Kiehl                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 Senator Mike Shower, Chair                                                                                                     
 Senator John Coghill, Vice Chair                                                                                               
 Senator Lora Reinbold                                                                                                          
 Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                         
 Senator Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATE JUDICIARY                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 All members present                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 All members present                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION(S):                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner - Department of Corrections                                                                                      
Nancy Dahlstrom - Anchorage                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner - Department of Public Safety                                                                                    
Amanda Price - Anchorage                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
NANCY DAHLSTROM, Commissioner Designee                                                                                          
Department of Corrections (DOC)                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as  nominee for commissioner of the                                                             
Department of Corrections.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
AMANDA PRICE, Commissioner Designee                                                                                             
Department of Public Safety (DPS)                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as  nominee for commissioner of the                                                             
Department of Public Safety.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RALPH SAMUELS, representing self                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Testified  in support  of  confirmation  of                                                             
commissioner designees Dahlstrom and Price.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MARCIA DAVIS, representing self                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION   STATEMENT:  Testified   in  support   of  commissioner                                                             
designee Price.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS THOMAS, representing self                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION   STATEMENT:  Testified   in  support   of  commissioner                                                             
designee Price.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
JAMES COCKRELL, Col. Ret., AST, representing self                                                                               
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION   STATEMENT:  Testified   in  support   of  commissioner                                                             
designee Price.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
GERALD GODFREY, representing self                                                                                               
Eagle River, Alaska                                                                                                             
POSITION   STATEMENT:  Testified   in  support   of  commissioner                                                             
designees Price and Dahlstrom.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CAROLYN PORTER, representing self                                                                                               
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:  Testified   in  support   of  commissioner                                                             
designee Price.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
KRIS PITTS, representing self                                                                                                   
Maine                                                                                                                           
POSITION   STATEMENT:  Testified   in  support   of  commissioner                                                             
designee Price.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
JEN WINKELMAN, Director                                                                                                         
Probation Parole Pretrial                                                                                                       
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Testified  in support  of  confirmation  of                                                             
commissioner designee Dahlstrom.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MARC ANTRIM, representing self                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Testified  in support  of  confirmation  of                                                             
commissioner designee Dahlstrom.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
RANDY MCLELLAN, President                                                                                                       
Alaska Correctional Officers Association (ACOA)                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION   STATEMENT:  Testified   in  support   of  commissioner                                                             
designee Dahlstrom.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DEREK JOHNSON, Staff Sergeant; Board Member, Region 8                                                                           
Alaska Correctional Officers Association (ACOA)                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:  Testified   in  support   of  commissioner                                                             
designee Dahlstrom.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MIKE COONS, President                                                                                                           
Greater Alaskan Chapter of Alaska Association of Mature Citizens                                                                
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:  Testified   in  support   of  commissioner                                                             
designee Dahlstrom and commissioner designee Price.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
3:05:16 PM                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHELLEY HUGHES  called  the joint  meeting  of the  Senate                                                             
Judiciary  Standing  Committee  and   the  Senate  State  Affairs                                                               
Standing Committee to  order at 3:05 p.m. Present at  the call to                                                               
order were  Senators Shower, Kiehl, Micciche,  Reinbold and Chair                                                               
Hughes from the Senate Judiciary  Standing Committee and Senators                                                               
Reinbold,  Micciche, Kawasaki  and Chair  Shower from  the Senate                                                               
State Affairs Standing Committee.  Senator Coghill arrived as the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                       
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                
            Commissioner, Department of Corrections                                                                         
           Commissioner, Department of Public Safety                                                                        
                                                                                                                              
3:06:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES announced  the  business of  the  meeting would  be                                                               
confirmation  hearings  for  commissioner of  the  Department  of                                                               
Corrections (DOC)  and commissioner  of the Department  of Public                                                               
Safety (DPS).                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
She said she  would take public testimony after  hearing from the                                                               
commissioner  designees.  She  welcomed   the  public  to  submit                                                               
written testimony to senate.judiciary@akleg.gov.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:07:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES asked  Nancy Dahlstrom,  commissioner designee  for                                                               
the Department of Corrections to come forward to testify.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:07:47 PM                                                                                                                    
NANCY   DAHLSTROM,    Commissioner   Designee,    Department   of                                                               
Corrections (DOC)  stated she has  lived in Alaska for  nearly 40                                                               
years, and  she and and  her husband  have four children  and ten                                                               
grandchildren.  She  said her  work  experience  is in  both  the                                                               
public  and   private  sector,  including  that   she  previously                                                               
represented Eagle River in the  legislature, serving in the House                                                               
[of  Representatives] for  eight years.  Governor Dunleavy  asked                                                               
her to  serve as  commissioner of  the Department  of Corrections                                                               
and she was honored to accept the position.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
She  provided the  DOC's goal,  which is  to provide  a safe  and                                                               
secure  environment,  reformative  programs   and  a  process  of                                                               
supervised community  integration to  achieve enhanced  safety in                                                               
the  department.  She  said  her vision  is  to  accomplish  this                                                               
mission while  maintaining safety for employees  and inmates. She                                                               
characterized  the  field of  corrections  as  a balance  between                                                               
toughness  and  compassion.  Although   she  does  not  have  any                                                               
experience in  the field of  corrections, but she brings  to this                                                               
job a background of educational  and professional skill sets. She                                                               
can identify problems and opportunities  and can create a plan to                                                               
address them,  build a  qualified team  to implement  and execute                                                               
decisions, she  said, which  makes her the  right choice  for the                                                               
job. She  said she takes  the job of commissioner  very seriously                                                               
and is up to the challenge.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:10:07 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE DAHLSTROM  related that  during her  eight                                                               
weeks  at  DOC,  she  has  already  accomplished  a  few  things,                                                               
including  suspending and  amending  policies  she believes  will                                                               
help make citizens safer and  help recognize victims' rights. She                                                               
said she returned the Hiland  Mountain Correctional Center (HMCC)                                                               
to an  all-women's facility  by moving  37 men  from HMCC  to the                                                               
Anchorage  Correctional  Complex  (ACC),   along  with  the  very                                                               
successful  18-month  transitional   living  program  (TLC).  Ms.                                                               
Dahlstrom said  this will  allow her to  fully reinstate  the TLC                                                               
program to  a broader group of  nearly 300 women inmates  at HMCC                                                               
and  institute other  women's programs  that were  displaced when                                                               
the  facility housed  both men  and women.  She said  that change                                                               
satisfies the  goal of providing  inmates with an  opportunity to                                                               
grow.  She highlighted  that the  ACC decision  was based  on the                                                               
proximity  to the  DOC's volunteer  base. Not  everyone has  been                                                               
pleased with the decision.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
She reported that  the DOC has a dedicated staff  of nearly 1,900                                                               
employees.  In addition  to ensuring  that  the institutions  run                                                               
smoothly, she is committed to  the programs the department offers                                                               
for  sex  offenders  and  faith-based  substance  abuse  programs                                                               
designed  to   help  inmates   reenter  society   as  law-abiding                                                               
citizens.   Ms.  Dahlstrom   thanked   the   committee  for   the                                                               
opportunity  to testify  and said  she looks  forward to  working                                                               
with the [committee and legislature].                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:12:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES,  referring to the  Office of Management  and Budget                                                               
(OMB)  overview   recently  presented   to  the   Senate  Finance                                                               
Committee.  She  related  her  understanding  that  each  of  the                                                               
commissioners were  asked to define the  department's mission and                                                               
identify  their priorities.  She asked  Ms. Dahlstrom  to provide                                                               
the DOC's mission  and her first few priorities and  if this is a                                                               
change from the prior administration.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE DAHLSTROM  said  the DOC's  mission is  to                                                               
keep the  DOC's residents safe  and provide programs for  them to                                                               
improve and learn.  She acknowledged that some  inmates will take                                                               
advantage of these  programs while others will not.  She has been                                                               
in the process  of reviewing many programs and  she will continue                                                               
to do so.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:13:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES commended  her for moving swiftly to  remove the day                                                               
pass program and amnesty box practices.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:13:44 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD  expressed concern that the  former commissioner                                                               
of  the   DOC  was  non-responsive  and   arrogantly  disregarded                                                               
concerns from trail users, church  members, community members and                                                               
even a  unanimous resolution  against housing  male inmates  at a                                                               
female  correctional facility.  She asked  the record  to reflect                                                               
how  much   the  [Eagle  River]  community   council  appreciated                                                               
commissioner designee Dahlstrom's  responsiveness in removing the                                                               
amnesty box,  the day passes  and transferring leases,  which was                                                               
unanimously  supported  at   a  well-attended  community  council                                                               
meeting. She thanked Ms. Dahlstrom  for her responsiveness to the                                                               
community's  concerns. She  related  that the  HMCC  is within  a                                                               
quarter  of  a  mile  to  trails, schools  and  the  Eagle  Point                                                               
residential  subdivision. She  asked  Ms. Dahlstrom  to keep  the                                                               
community   council  informed,   particularly   since  the   last                                                               
commissioner failed to do so.  She related her understanding that                                                               
approximately 300  inmates are housed  in the facility and  it is                                                               
important to keep the community informed.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  DAHLSTROM said  she was willing  to commit                                                               
to be open  to the committee and to the  legislature about things                                                               
that are happening at the HMCC.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD clarified that she  was not asking Ms. Dahlstrom                                                               
to  impart confidential  information.  However,  she pointed  out                                                               
when five  overdoses occurred in  a one-week span in  a facility,                                                               
it pointed to an issue with contraband within the facility.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:16:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL joined the meeting.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:16:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE stated  that he met with  Ms. Dahlstrom earlier.                                                               
He said  he supports the  repeal and replacement of  some aspects                                                               
of the  criminal justice system.  He offered his belief  that one                                                               
program that could be very  effective is the pretrial enforcement                                                               
program. He  asked for  her view on  continuing the  pretrial and                                                               
whether she finds the program has value.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  DAHLSTROM said the pretrial  functions are                                                               
important. She explained that if  the governor's bill, introduced                                                               
yesterday,  passes  in its  current  form  it would  eliminate  a                                                               
separate division  for pretrial,  but the  responsibilities would                                                               
be  rolled under  probation and  parole and  the DOC  would still                                                               
have oversight.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MICCICHE  asked for  her  vision  and plans  for  prison                                                               
industries  since the  industries  can help  prepare inmates  for                                                               
life after incarceration.  He asked whether she had  any plans to                                                               
reevaluate the potential of prison industries.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  DAHLSTROM said  she believes in  the value                                                               
of  good  hard  work.  She  agreed  that  prison  industries  are                                                               
beneficial, and she is currently  in the process of reviewing the                                                               
function.  She  recalled  the  Lemon  Creek  Correctional  Center                                                               
(LCCC)  in  Juneau  previously  housed a  laundry.  The  work  is                                                               
beneficial for many reasons, she said.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:18:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI  said Senate  Bill  (SB)  32 would  repeal  and                                                               
replace Senate  Bill 91, which  would increase  sentencing ranges                                                               
and probation  lengths. He said  that SB 33 would  also eliminate                                                               
the  credit  for electronic  monitoring  in  pretrial status.  He                                                               
anticipated these changes would mean  longer stays for inmates in                                                               
the correctional  system. He  recalled that  in the  past several                                                               
years the  legislature appropriated  $10 million  in supplemental                                                               
appropriations  for  the  DOC.  He asked  Ms.  Dahlstrom  if  she                                                               
anticipated  the  department  would   need  additional  funds  or                                                               
supplemental appropriations [under the governor's bills.]                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  DAHLSTROM anticipated  the DOC  would need                                                               
extra beds  if [SB 32]  passed in  its current form.  She further                                                               
stated   that  the   DOC  would   evaluate  the   current  inmate                                                               
population, acknowledging that everything is  on the table as far                                                               
as housing.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KAWASAKI referred  to an  article he  attributed to  the                                                               
Alaska Journal of Commerce that  the state might pursue a private                                                             
prison model  for an  out-of-state contract,  like one  the state                                                               
previously had  to house Alaska  inmates in Colorado  or Arizona.                                                               
He  asked whether  that proposal  was  under consideration  given                                                               
that the prison population is  "maxed out." He offered his belief                                                               
that the state  would either need to bring  new facilities online                                                               
or find other  beds. He asked whether that was  still part of the                                                               
mix.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  DAHLSTROM answered  yes, that  proposal is                                                               
still on the table.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KAWASAKI recalled  a  report several  years  ago by  the                                                               
administration that  identified the  total ratio  of correctional                                                               
officers  to inmates.  He  recalled that  the  figure was  deemed                                                               
roughly half  of what was  necessary. He  asked how she  plans to                                                               
reconcile  that   report  or  how   she  would  handle   what  he                                                               
characterized  as  an  unsafe  setting  within  the  correctional                                                               
system.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE DAHLSTROM  answered  that recruitment  and                                                               
retention  is important  in many  aspects of  public safety.  She                                                               
said she was certainly reviewing  this and would be interested in                                                               
reading   the   article    Senator   Kawasaki   referenced.   She                                                               
acknowledged that she does not have all the answers today.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:22:17 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD  said she  had  worked  for  years on  a  trail                                                               
project in her  community that once consisted  of 200 volunteers.                                                               
She recalled that a previous  commissioner had allowed the female                                                               
inmates to assist  in the project. She characterized  them as the                                                               
best volunteers she  had during the five years  she was involved.                                                               
She asked Ms.  Dahlstrom to continue to support  the program. She                                                               
offered  her belief  that the  program was  previously well  run,                                                               
despite  some hindrances  that  led to  lock-downs  any time  the                                                               
women  were moved  She  briefly discussed  the  process of  using                                                               
inmates. She asked  for her vision in terms  of workforce reentry                                                               
programs for  inmates. She  offered her  belief it  was important                                                               
for male  and female inmates to  be busy, to feel  productive and                                                               
to help become prepared for reentry to their communities.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  DAHLSTROM said she believes  hard work and                                                               
volunteerism  is good  for  everyone and  she  will be  reviewing                                                               
whether to  continue these programs  since they can  provide many                                                               
benefits.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:24:17 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL  acknowledged  proposals  to  change  [criminal]                                                               
statutes [will  be considered before  the legislature.]  He asked                                                               
Ms. Dahlstrom  whether she intends  to follow the current  law as                                                               
it  stands  until  the  criminal  laws change.  He  said  that  a                                                               
significant  number  of  inmates  will  likely  be  released.  He                                                               
emphasized  the  need  for  the department  to  have  a  planning                                                               
process to reduce recidivism and  maintain safety for the public.                                                               
Although it  may not  be the focus  of the  administration, post-                                                               
incarceration planning  will fall into Ms.  Dahlstrom's realm and                                                               
he asked  for her view.  During his work  on [Senate Bill  91] on                                                               
prison reform, he  tried to keep the  corrections function within                                                               
the  DOC to  keep people  safe. He  said that  post-incarceration                                                               
planning  was  something  he tried  to  address.  Currently,  the                                                               
planning process  begins 90  days prior  to an  inmate's release,                                                               
although he  was unsure if the  changes [in Senate Bill  91] were                                                               
fully  implemented. Notwithstanding  proposed  changes, he  asked                                                               
her to use a new set of  eyes identify things she thinks could be                                                               
done better in terms of post-incarceration planning.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  DAHLSTROM agreed to  follow the law  as it                                                               
currently  stands. In  further response  to Senator  Coghill, Ms.                                                               
Dahlstrom  briefly  described  her  post-incarceration  planning,                                                               
noting the department would fail  its inmates if it released them                                                               
without  any planning.  She  said she  intends  to have  thorough                                                               
planning  in place  for inmates  to  provide them  with the  best                                                               
possible outcome. Many  community organizations, including faith-                                                               
based organizations,  can assist the department  and help inmates                                                               
as they [transition into society].                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:27:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  said this dovetails  nicely into her  concerns. She                                                               
related  that  at  the   governor's  press  conference  yesterday                                                               
[January 23, 2019], the attorney  general [designee] advised that                                                               
the overall  crime rate between  2013-17 increased by  25 percent                                                               
but given  that Senate Bill 91  passed in July 2016,  the bulk of                                                               
that  upward trend  was unrelated  to that  bill. She  understood                                                               
that  some states  have reduced  recidivism by  up to  40 percent                                                               
based on  [prison programs]. The  DOC's 2017 and  2018 recidivism                                                               
reports  identified Alaska's  recidivism rate  at 67  percent and                                                               
look  at what  other  states  are doing.  She  asked  if she  was                                                               
committed  to  reduce  the  recidivism  rate,  especially  noting                                                               
Senator Coghill has predicted many  inmates will be released. She                                                               
suggested  Ms.  Dahlstrom  review   other  states'  programs  and                                                               
innovative  programs, such  as the  successful  TLC program.  She                                                               
reported the TLC program has  a 28-percent recidivism rate, which                                                               
reduces to 14  percent those inmates who participate  in a faith-                                                               
based recovery home. She suggested  that the TLC program would be                                                               
an  excellent   program  for  HMCC   women,  recalling   her  own                                                               
experience  as  a  contractor. She  explained  that  inmates  who                                                               
participated  in this  faith-based  program were  kept busy  with                                                               
meetings, religious studies and  other activities. She contrasted                                                               
that  with  the idleness  of  inmates  not  in the  program.  She                                                               
acknowledged  the constitution  limits what  can be  required but                                                               
emphasized  her   desire  for  more  structure   in  the  state's                                                               
correctional facilities. She asked  Ms. Dahlstrom whether she was                                                               
committed  to  address recidivism.  She  said  that undoing  some                                                               
portions of Senate Bill 91  would not affect the recidivism trend                                                               
since it had been climbing prior to passage of the bill.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE  DAHLSTROM  responded  that  she  was  100                                                               
percent  committed   to  address  recidivism.  She   expressed  a                                                               
willingness to discuss productive ways to address recidivism.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:31:47 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL asked  for further  clarification  on whether  the                                                               
administration was considering turning  down a $1 million federal                                                               
re-entry grant.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE DAHLSTROM replied  that she turned down the                                                               
grant since  it was a one-year  one-time grant of $1  million and                                                               
she  did not  believe the  state could  sustain the  expenditures                                                               
going forward. She  offered a willingness to review  the grant if                                                               
facts  changed.  In  response  to   whether  there  would  be  an                                                               
opportunity  to reapply  for the  grant,  Ms. Dahlstrom  answered                                                               
that  the  federal grant  she  declined  was a  one-time  federal                                                               
grant.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:33:08 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL recalled  that Ms.  Dahlstrom was  serving in  the                                                               
governor's  office when  the  issue of  safety  for the  [Alaska]                                                               
National  Guard arose.  He related  his understanding  that since                                                               
her appointment  Ms. Dahlstrom decided  to have  troopers conduct                                                               
internal  investigations  rather  than  having  the  DOC  conduct                                                               
internal reviews.  He asked Ms.  Dahlstrom how the DOC  will keep                                                               
correctional officers and inmates safe.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   DESIGNEE   DAHLSTROM   said  she   disbanded   the                                                               
Professional Conduct  Unit (PCU) to eliminate  duplicate service.                                                               
The state does not have funding, nor  did she think it was a wise                                                               
use  of  funds,   since  the  AST  is   statutorily  required  to                                                               
investigate criminal activity.  She added that the  DOC has human                                                               
resources personnel able  to handle any internal  issue and refer                                                               
any criminal aspects to the AST.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:35:24 PM                                                                                                                    
At-ease.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:36:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHOWER,  acknowledging   contentious  budget  issues  will                                                               
arise, asked  whether she  anticipated an  increase to  the DOC's                                                               
budget  or if  it  is currently  sufficient  to accomplish  DOC's                                                               
responsibilities.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   DESIGNEE  DAHLSTROM   said   she  heard   Governor                                                               
Dunleavy's  intent  to  increase  funds for  public  safety.  Ms.                                                               
Dahlstrom  indicated that  she is  tasked  with evaluating  DOC's                                                               
expenditures to determine if the spending  is a wise use of state                                                               
funds.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER asked  Ms. Dahlstrom to expand on how  to save money                                                               
with  the caveat  that  increased funding  will  be necessary  to                                                               
implement any additional programs.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE DAHLSTROM said  she has been evaluating the                                                               
cost  of adding  new beds  if [the  governor's] bills  introduced                                                               
yesterday were to pass since  the legislation would increase [the                                                               
number of inmates]. She anticipated  [the governor's bills] could                                                               
also increase  mental health  costs, so  she has  been evaluating                                                               
all programs to determine which  ones can be consolidated or what                                                               
function could be performed by community or other organizations.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHOWER  related that  the  DOC  has a  prisoner  transport                                                               
function  but the  Department  of Public  Safety  (DPS) has  been                                                               
providing many of these services.  He asked if she has considered                                                               
the cost of prisoner transport.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE DAHLSTROM  related that  one option  under                                                               
consideration   is   to   use  video   conferencing   for   court                                                               
appearances,  which could  also increase  public safety  since it                                                               
would avoid having inmates on the  street and save money for DPS.                                                               
She advised that she is still evaluating the whole picture.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHOWER  said the  Palmer  Correctional  [Center] (PCC)  is                                                               
essentially in "dry storage," yet  the DOC has the potential need                                                               
for additional  beds. He asked  whether she has  been considering                                                               
reopening the  PCC depending  on what  happens with  the criminal                                                               
justice reform.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE DAHLSTROM  answered  yes,  noting she  has                                                               
asked  for projected  costs  to  bring the  PCC  out of  mothball                                                               
status.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:39:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD asked  to comment on several  issues. First, she                                                               
noted   that  she   previously  evaluated   the  DOC's   internal                                                               
investigative unit  and found that continual  investigations were                                                               
occurring.  This was  duplicate  effort between  the DOC's  human                                                               
resources and  AST. She said  she was glad  to learn the  PCU was                                                               
eliminated.  Since   she  serves   on  the  DOC   Senate  Finance                                                               
Subcommittee,  she was  glad  to hear  Senator  Shower raise  the                                                               
issue of  the "million-mile club,"  noting AST  provides prisoner                                                               
transport services for  the DOC, which was  expensive to provide.                                                               
She thanked Ms.  Dahlstrom for evaluating the costs  of doing so.                                                               
She  has  heard  concerns  about the  costs  of  increased  beds;                                                               
however, she  noted many costs for  DOC's correctional facilities                                                               
are  fixed   costs.  She   asked  Ms.   Dahlstrom  to   look  for                                                               
efficiencies such as video  conferencing and prisoner transports.                                                               
She asked for  further clarification on any  cost savings, noting                                                               
that  not  only are  prison  costs  a  factor  but that  tens  of                                                               
millions of dollars of theft  impact the private sector and those                                                               
costs should also be considered.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   DESIGNEE  DAHLSTROM   said   she  was   absolutely                                                               
committed to spending  the public's money wisely,  that she takes                                                               
spending seriously  and wanted to  assure members she  would make                                                               
the wisest choices possible to keep the public safe.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:42:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE  recalled  that  the United  States  (U.S.)  is                                                               
number   one  in   the  world   for   proportion  of   population                                                               
incarcerated  and Alaska  is number  one in  the U.S.  He briefly                                                               
described the  state's departments  working in silos,  which does                                                               
not  seem  realistic.  He related  the  cycle  of  incarceration,                                                               
noting that  DOC houses incarcerated  inmates, DPS  arrests them,                                                               
the Alaska  Court System prosecutes  them, and the  Department of                                                               
Health  and Social  Services (DHSS)  provides  services for  many                                                               
families of inmates.  He asked Ms. Dahlstrom whether  she saw the                                                               
potential for  a collective and comprehensive  prevention program                                                               
to  keep people  from entering  the system.  He remarked  that he                                                               
would like to  put DOC out of  business one day, but  it does not                                                               
seem very realistic right now.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE  DAHLSTROM  answered  yes,  that  she  was                                                               
pleased when the  governor directed the DPS,  DOC, and Department                                                               
of Law (DOL) to  work together as a team. She  said DHSS has also                                                               
been involved  in discussions. She committed  to collaborate with                                                               
other departments.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:43:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES said  with passage of criminal law  changes that the                                                               
prior administration was responsible  for writing regulations and                                                               
submitting  them to  the  legislature.  Instead, guidelines  were                                                               
compiled,  and  programs were  begun,  she  said. She  asked  Ms.                                                               
Dahlstrom  for  a  commitment for  a  timely  regulatory  process                                                               
including public process.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE DAHLSTROM committed to do so.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES was  unsure whether the governor's  bills would pass                                                               
the legislature. She asked Ms.  Dahlstrom to consider how to make                                                               
Alaska  safer  even  if  none  of the  crime  bills  passed.  She                                                               
suggested  that many  things could  be done  at the  correctional                                                               
facilities. She pointed  out Alaska has had a  pattern of inmates                                                               
leaving  in worse  shape than  when they  entered and  committing                                                               
worse  crimes when  they were  released. She  offered her  belief                                                               
that Ms.  Dahlstrom has an  opportunity to do  things differently                                                               
that could make Alaska's communities safer.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:45:21 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:46:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES reconvened the meeting.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES stated  that public testimony would be  taken at the                                                               
end of the  confirmation hearings. She advised that  in the event                                                               
the  committee  did  not  have   time  to  take  all  the  public                                                               
testimony, people could  submit written testimony as  part of the                                                               
record.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:46:25 PM                                                                                                                    
AMANDA PRICE, Commissioner Designee,  Department of Public Safety                                                               
(DPS),  thanked her  staff for  their work.  She stated  her goal                                                               
today was to share her  background and qualifications for serving                                                               
as commissioner of DPS. She  has known Governor Dunleavy for some                                                               
time and  is aligned  with and  supportive of  his goals  for the                                                               
department,  she said.  She was  raised in  Alaska, has  lived in                                                               
Alaska for  40 years, has three  children. Her husband, who  is a                                                               
retired police  officer, and children  live in  Anchorage. Twenty                                                               
years  ago, she  operated  a  non-profit organization,  [Muscular                                                               
Dystrophy Association,  Inc. -  Alaska Chapter]  with substantial                                                               
responsibility  and authority  which  has shaped  her life,  work                                                               
ethic, and  expectations for  the work  ethics of  others. During                                                               
that time, she spent time  in rural communities, operated medical                                                               
equipment,  and never  just  wanted to  receive  a paycheck,  but                                                               
wanted to  serve and  benefit of Alaska.  She worked  for several                                                               
non-profit  organizations  and  those  experiences  gave  her  an                                                               
intensive   knowledge  of   strategic  planning,   organizational                                                               
management  and  gave  her  fiscally  conservative  and  fiscally                                                               
responsible views. She  also had opportunities to  work on policy                                                               
issues and  engage with the  legislature. She offered  her belief                                                               
these  experiences  provided  her  with  a  well-rounded  set  of                                                               
management skills.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
She reviewed her work experience,  including serving as executive                                                               
director of Standing Together Against  Rape (STAR). She felt that                                                               
working with  law enforcement  agencies and  a multi-disciplinary                                                               
group gave  her a broad view  and sense of the  services and gaps                                                               
in   the   system.  She   also   served   in  Governor   Walker's                                                               
administration for  two years  as a senior  advisor on  issues of                                                               
violent  crime  prevention  and intervention,  with  a  focus  on                                                               
domestic  violence  and sexual  assault.  She  reviewed cases  in                                                               
which concerns  were raised that  forensic evidence had  not been                                                               
moved to the [Scientific  Crime Detection Laboratory (CrimeLab)],                                                               
which led  to an audit  of sexual  assault kits in  possession of                                                               
law enforcement agencies.  She characterized this as  one gap but                                                               
noted   that  other   challenges   exist,  and   she  hopes   for                                                               
improvements. She  listed her  memberships, including  serving on                                                               
the Council of Domestic Violence  and Sexual Assault (CDVSA), the                                                               
National Criminal Justice Association  and other service provider                                                               
agencies.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:53:30 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  PRICE said  that crime is  often discussed                                                               
as statistics, but  the human cost and impact of  rising crime on                                                               
Alaskans  should  not be  overlooked.  She  has been  touched  by                                                               
violent crime, assault victims,  and incarcerated family members.                                                               
She related  a personal  scenario to  illustrate how  people make                                                               
erroneous  assumptions about  others.  She related  that she  has                                                               
forged  relationships with  retired law  enforcement through  her                                                               
work experiences that  has helped her understand  the elements of                                                               
public safety.  She related  her top  priorities fall  within the                                                               
statutory mission of  DPS, which is to protect  life and property                                                               
and the  constitutional authority identifies the  need to protect                                                               
the   public.  Any   DPS  functions   that  fall   outside  those                                                               
protections will  be evaluated.  She committed  to work  with all                                                               
departments  to break  down silos,  noting she  has already  been                                                               
working with  commissioner designee Dahlstrom,  DHSS commissioner                                                               
designee Crum and attorney general designee [Clarkson].                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE  PRICE  identified one  underutilized  and                                                               
underperforming DPS  division is  the Division  of Fire  and Life                                                               
Safety, which is tasked with  many functions, including statewide                                                               
jurisdiction for plan review and  fire code enforcement. In 2017,                                                               
Alaska experienced a 167 percent  increase in fire fatalities and                                                               
a significant  increase in injuries to  firefighters. She intends                                                               
to provide the  division with adequate resources  to conduct plan                                                               
reviews  and provide  training  for  firefighters statewide,  she                                                               
said.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
She  said the  Council of  Domestic Violence  and Sexual  Assault                                                               
(CDVSA) was  a primary funder  of the agency that  she previously                                                               
ran. She reviewed  the CDVSA activities, including  that it funds                                                               
24  emergency   shelter  programs,  provides   critical  outreach                                                               
programs, and intervenes in and  works to reduce crimes of sexual                                                               
assault.  She  commended  the  multi-disciplinary  response  team                                                               
approach the CDVSA uses to  help ensure prosecution of cases. She                                                               
would like to  see the same approach used  throughout Alaska. She                                                               
highlighted the critical work the  Division of Statewide Services                                                               
provides;  it  houses  the Criminal  Records  and  Identification                                                               
Bureau  that oversees  sex  offender  registration. The  division                                                               
also  oversees concealed  carry firearms  permitting, information                                                               
services,   the  fingerprint   ID  system,   the  Public   Safety                                                               
Information   Network,  emergency   dispatch  centers,   and  911                                                               
services.  The CrimeLab  provides all  forensic services  for law                                                               
enforcement agencies and expert  testimony in criminal cases. The                                                               
Alaska   Police  Standards   Council   evaluates  misconduct   by                                                               
certified police  officers in the state  and makes determinations                                                               
on revoking their certifications.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:00:02 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE  PRICE  said   she  views  herself  as  an                                                               
unconventional  appointee   since  governors   generally  appoint                                                               
career   law   enforcement   personnel.  She   acknowledged   her                                                               
tremendous respect for  the AST, but troopers are  not trained at                                                               
the  training academy  to  achieve  management skills,  including                                                               
budget, personnel, administrative, or legislative functions.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:01:10 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE PRICE said the  role of the commissioner is                                                               
to  provide policy  and oversight  management and  work with  the                                                               
legislature to  ensure the governor's  goals and  initiatives are                                                               
met  and to  provide  adequate resources  for  the department  to                                                               
perform  the   DPS's  critical   mission.  She   highlighted  the                                                               
collective experience  her staff present at  today's meeting has,                                                               
such that  she has  faith in  them to  run every  law enforcement                                                               
mission  necessary. She  pointed  out one  responsibility to  law                                                               
enforcement personnel  is to provide training  and retention. The                                                               
department plans to  hold an upcoming academy  to train troopers,                                                               
which  will  be the  largest  training  academy since  2003.  She                                                               
commended  the recruitment  unit. She  noted that  the department                                                               
has  a retention  work group,  comprised of  sworn and  non-sworn                                                               
personnel,  who  will  report  to  her  on  March  8,  2019  with                                                               
recommendations  to  address  issues  that  were  raised  in  the                                                               
employee engagement survey; however, the  group will not make any                                                               
recommendations  related to  salary or  benefits. She  stated her                                                               
desire to improve morale and support law enforcement.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:03:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  thanked Ms.  Price  for  her testimony  and  asked                                                               
invited  members  to  ask  questions.   In  response  to  Senator                                                               
Reinbold, she  indicated members  could ask  additional questions                                                               
after public testimony if time permits.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:03:50 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE commended Ms. Price's  testimony and said he did                                                               
not currently have any questions.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:04:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI  thanked Ms. Price  for her  thorough testimony.                                                               
He referred  to an  article in  the [Mat-Su  Valley] Frontiersman                                                             
that indicated  she might  be the  only DPS  commissioner without                                                               
law enforcement  experience although her  background [intersected                                                               
with law enforcement.]  He asked how she intended  to inspire the                                                               
"rank  and   file"  law  enforcement   personnel  who   are  more                                                               
accustomed to a more regimented style of leadership                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE PRICE responded  that she contemplated this                                                               
issue  prior to  accepting  the position  because  she wants  her                                                               
presence to be supportive and  not detrimental to the department.                                                               
She was grateful  that she has not experienced  any pushback thus                                                               
far, in  part, because  she asked  law enforcement  personnel and                                                               
staff  what  they  needed,  and   she  has  worked  to  implement                                                               
suggestions.  She  lamented  that  the  department  has  not  had                                                               
support for  training or funding  for commanders to  visit posts.                                                               
She immediately  has mandated that  commanders visit  their posts                                                               
to better  understand the issues the  detachments' troopers face.                                                               
She  has also  implemented mandates  for training  and in-service                                                               
days,  which  she   later  learned  are  key   to  retaining  law                                                               
enforcement. She did  not think commissioners needed  to have law                                                               
enforcement  experience, but  rather that  troopers needed  their                                                               
leaders to believe in them.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KAWASAKI  asked for  clarification on  her resume  on the                                                               
dates of  her experience at  the Office of Management  and Budget                                                               
(OMB) from March 2015 to March 2017.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE  PRICE  confirmed   that  the  dates  were                                                               
correct. In  response to  a further  question on  her experience,                                                               
Ms. Price  agreed there was an  error in the dates  she served as                                                               
deputy campaign manager  for Mike Dunleavy for  Governor and when                                                               
she served as  senior advisor to Governor Walker,  which showed a                                                               
three-month  overlap. Ms.  Price recalled  she began  working for                                                               
the Dunleavy  campaign in  December 2017.  She offered  to update                                                               
her resume.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KAWASAKI asked  why she left Governor  Walker's office in                                                               
2017.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  PRICE said  that she  had high  hopes that                                                               
public safety would  be a high priority for  Governor Walker, and                                                               
she worked hard but found that  what she was trying to accomplish                                                               
for  Alaska was  not being  furthered.  She said  her hopes  were                                                               
dashed and  she felt  it no  longer suited her  to serve  in that                                                               
capacity.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:08:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER commented that his  conversations with [Alaska State                                                               
Troopers (troopers)]  raised his concern about  morale within the                                                               
department.  One common  complaint  was that  as law  enforcement                                                               
personnel  they  were  not  making an  impact.  They  often  were                                                               
arresting  the same  individual multiple  times sometimes  on the                                                               
same day.  He suggested this  might be  due to recent  changes in                                                               
the criminal  laws and  some of the  responsibility falls  on the                                                               
legislature  to  give  law   enforcement  appropriate  tools.  He                                                               
thanked Ms. Price  for her actions to improve  morale. He further                                                               
asked  Ms. Price  to identify  her top  three challenges  for the                                                               
department.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE PRICE highlighted  that the single, biggest                                                               
challenge   she  faces   is  the   lack  of   troopers  and   she                                                               
characterized  the insufficient  number of  troopers as  the "top                                                               
three  challenges"  she faces.  She  explained  that it  takes  a                                                               
significant amount  of time  to recruit,  train, and  field train                                                               
troopers, noting  the department  is committed  to not  lower its                                                               
standards for troopers.  She said that communities  either do not                                                               
have  enough  troopers  to  feel  safe or  they  have  none.  She                                                               
acknowledged that troopers want  to perform their jobs, including                                                               
responding  to all  911 calls.  In  fact, not  having enough  law                                                               
enforcement  to  respond  to  calls  compounds  the  trauma  that                                                               
troopers experience.  She expressed concern about  eroding public                                                               
trust when the public places  emergency calls and those calls are                                                               
not answered.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   DESIGNEE   PRICE   acknowledged   she   has   held                                                               
conversations  with local  law enforcement  and some  legislators                                                               
about the  need for  additional troopers  and to  have consistent                                                               
recruitment, retention, and to  reduce separations. She expressed                                                               
concern about  the lack  of a  sustainable strategic  plan, which                                                               
she   said  is   an  important   aspect  for   transparency.  She                                                               
highlighted that  a strategic plan  also informs  the legislature                                                               
and the  public where troopers will  be assigned and the  type of                                                               
public safety response the public can expect.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:12:41 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL  said he  appreciated Ms.  Price's work  on trooper                                                               
retention.  He hoped  she would  broaden the  retention issue  to                                                               
include  benefits   for  them.  He   stated  he  has   held  many                                                               
conversations  with  law   enforcement  personnel  who  expressed                                                               
concerns about  benefits, noting  they advised  him that  it does                                                               
not make economic sense for them  to remain in Alaska. He said he                                                               
has also spoken  with Ms. Price on the issue  of staff longevity.                                                               
He  was pleased  to hear  her mention  local law  enforcement but                                                               
expressed concern  about previous administrations  shifting costs                                                               
to local  government with  police powers,  for training  costs or                                                               
trooper deployment  decisions. He asked for  clarification on her                                                               
vision on the  relationship and any overlap  between local police                                                               
departments and troopers in Alaska.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE  PRICE  said   she  could  not  provide  a                                                               
comprehensive   response   now;   it  will   require   additional                                                               
conversations.  She said  she excluded  defined benefits  because                                                               
she  wanted to  address areas  under  her control,  but she  does                                                               
support  defined benefits  for troopers.  She offered  her belief                                                               
that  the  state  does  not  have  enough  resources  to  provide                                                               
adequate   public  safety   services   to   the  public   without                                                               
collaborating with  local police. In  terms of cost  sharing, the                                                               
state  has  decided  it  cannot continue  to  absorb  costs,  for                                                               
example, police  academy training  costs. She offered  her belief                                                               
that this  is a  policy call.  She said her  response will  be to                                                               
reach  out  and collaborate  with  some  of the  more  challenged                                                               
areas, such as Haines, to  improve the public safety response and                                                               
find solutions that will work  for the AST and wildlife troopers.                                                               
She  questioned whether  the ultimate  solution for  Haines would                                                               
work  in  other areas,  such  as  the  Mat-Su Borough  since  the                                                               
solution would not likely be a "one size fits all" solution.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:15:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES said  she  was  glad to  hear  Ms.  Price wants  to                                                               
restore the  public trust  in terms  of emergency  responses. She                                                               
related her understanding that in  the past few years some people                                                               
did not  bother to  call 911  for help  because troopers  did not                                                               
respond. She pointed  out some members of  the administration and                                                               
law enforcement in the audience.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:16:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  opened  public   testimony  for  the  confirmation                                                               
hearing for commissioner designee  Nancy Dahlstrom, Department of                                                               
Corrections  and commissioner  designee Amanda  Price, Department                                                               
of Public Safety.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:17:04 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:17:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES reconvened the meeting.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:17:42 PM                                                                                                                    
RALPH  SAMUELS, representing  self, testified  in support  of Ms.                                                               
Dahlstrom, stating he  has known her for nearly  two decades, and                                                               
they served  together in  the legislature  for several  years. He                                                               
found  her to  be  very qualified,  hardworking,  and a  critical                                                               
thinker who has public and  private sector experience. He said he                                                               
also worked with  Ms. Price during her time  with former Governor                                                               
Walker's   administration   and   her  tenure   with   non-profit                                                               
organizations  for  victims.  He  offered his  support  for  both                                                               
commissioner designees and offered  his belief that Ms. Dahlstrom                                                               
and Ms. Price will perform well for Alaska.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:18:55 PM                                                                                                                    
MARCIA DAVIS,  representing self,  said she served  previously as                                                               
deputy  chief-of-staff for  former  Governor Walker  and in  that                                                               
capacity  worked with  Ms. Price  for  two years.  She found  Ms.                                                               
Price to be  very talented and qualified. Ms. Price  would be her                                                               
first  choice for  commissioner if  she were  selecting one.  She                                                               
spoke to Ms.  Price's determination, her ability  to identify and                                                               
work and  implement goals  and collaborate  with others.  She has                                                               
observed  her write  and obtain  federal grants  and give  others                                                               
credit when the  federal grants were awarded. She  said Ms. Price                                                               
has proven herself with the rank and file.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:21:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRIS  THOMAS,  representing  self,   related  he  had  extensive                                                               
experience investigating sexual assaults,  met Ms. Price when she                                                               
was executive  director of  STAR and considers  her a  friend. He                                                               
said   Ms.   Price   is  intelligent,   industrious,   committed,                                                               
understands  the  complexities   of  investigations,  makes  good                                                               
decisions and  will always  do the  right thing.  He said  he has                                                               
been in  law enforcement  for 15 years  and would  willingly work                                                               
for her. He urged members to confirm Ms. Price.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:22:21 PM                                                                                                                    
JAMES COCKRELL, Col. Retired, AST;  representing self, said he is                                                               
a  retired AST  Colonel with  approximately 30  years of  service                                                               
with the  DPS. He  spoke in  support of  the confirmation  of Ms.                                                               
Price. He said  he worked on public safety issues  with Ms. Price                                                               
when she was a senior  policy advisor for former Governor Walker,                                                               
more specifically, on issues in  rural Alaska. He said she worked                                                               
to garner  a $1.2 million  federal grant for sexual  assault kits                                                               
or rape kits.  Prior to her appointment, he often  spoke with her                                                               
and is  confident that she  will provide the  passion, direction,                                                               
and  energy to  perform the  job. In  closing he  said Ms.  Price                                                               
engages  with law  enforcement personnel  in ways  not previously                                                               
done and he would be proud to work for her.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:24:23 PM                                                                                                                    
GERALD GODFREY,  representing self,  said that  he served  in the                                                               
cabinet   alongside  Ms.   Price   and  found   her  to   possess                                                               
considerable  capabilities.  He  also  served  as  chair  of  the                                                               
Violent Crimes  Compensation Board  (VCCB) and  characterized his                                                               
experience  with Ms.  Price as  having considerable  professional                                                               
overlap. He  related other  family members'  service in  the AST,                                                               
including that his brother and  brother-in-law served as troopers                                                               
and his  father was  a career trooper,  former AST  director, and                                                               
former  DPS   commissioner.  He   offered  his  belief   that  he                                                               
understands   the  demands   and  skills   needed  to   serve  as                                                               
commissioner.   He  characterized   Ms.  Price   as  intelligent,                                                               
energetic,  and  capable. He  said  that  public safety  and  law                                                               
enforcement  was not  the focus  of the  previous administration,                                                               
which saddened him,  but he believes it will be  the focus of the                                                               
current  administration. He  did not  think that  law enforcement                                                               
experience was  essential to  serve as  the DPS  commissioner and                                                               
commended  Governor  Dunleavy's  choice  of  Ms.  Price  and  the                                                               
governor's willingness to challenge conventional practice.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
He further testified in support  of Ms. Dahlstrom as commissioner                                                               
of the DOC, stating  he has known her for more  than 20 years and                                                               
finds her  to be  capable and committed.  He worked  closely with                                                               
Ms. Dahlstrom  on crime issues  while he  served on the  VCCB. In                                                               
closing, he said she was a strong appointee as commissioner.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:27:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CAROLYN PORTER,  representing self,  stated that she  worked with                                                               
Ms.  Price  on  a  campaign   and  found  her  to  be  dedicated,                                                               
intelligent,  tireless,  with an  ability  to  work with  diverse                                                               
people. She said  she believes Ms. Price has  the highest respect                                                               
for  law enforcement  and  is dedicated  to  help restore  public                                                               
safety in  Alaska. In closing,  she strongly urged  the committee                                                               
to confirm Ms. Price.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:28:38 PM                                                                                                                    
KRIS PITTS, representing self, stated  her support for Ms. Price.                                                               
She said that  the governor has characterized crime  in Alaska as                                                               
out  of control,  citing the  high incidence  of rape  and sexual                                                               
assault.  She  offered her  belief  that  Ms.  Price has  a  deep                                                               
personal  commitment to  serve the  people of  Alaska and  she is                                                               
highly qualified  to serve.  She related  a personal  scenario to                                                               
emphasize her support  for Ms. Price. She said  given Ms. Price's                                                               
background and experience, she could  think of no other candidate                                                               
who could lead the department in the role of commissioner.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:31:52 PM                                                                                                                    
JEN  WINKELMAN, Director,  Probation Parole  Pretrial, Department                                                               
of Corrections  (DOC), said that she  has worked for the  DOC for                                                               
18  years. She  spoke in  support of  Ms. Dahlstrom,  stating she                                                               
admires   her   demonstrated   strong  leadership,   grace,   and                                                               
compassion  in the  short  time she  has  served as  commissioner                                                               
[designee], which  are critical skills needed  in the department.                                                               
She offered her  belief that Ms. Dahlstrom cares  about the staff                                                               
and  for those  in custody.  She  said staff  morale has  already                                                               
improved,  that   Ms.  Dahlstrom  collaborates  with   staff  and                                                               
recognizes  individual staff  strengths.  In  closing, she  asked                                                               
members to support Ms. Dahlstrom's confirmation.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:34:15 PM                                                                                                                    
MARC ANTRIM, representing self, said  he is currently employed as                                                               
a  petroleum   security  contractor   on  the  North   Slope.  He                                                               
previously  served  as commissioner  of  the  DOC, during  former                                                               
Governor   Murkowski's  administration,   and  worked   with  Ms.                                                               
Dahlstrom  on  criminal justice  issues.  He  said she  is  fair,                                                               
tough, open  minded, interested in staff,  clients, public safety                                                               
and the public. He said that  changes in one part of the criminal                                                               
justice system affect other parts of  the system. He spoke to the                                                               
rigors  and stress  for  those working  in  the criminal  justice                                                               
system. He commended the team  Ms. Dahlstrom has selected and her                                                               
policy  changes as  commissioner  designee.  He acknowledged  the                                                               
monumental  budgetary  challenges   Alaska  currently  faces.  He                                                               
offered  his  belief  that  Ms.  Dahlstrom  has  the  experience,                                                               
leadership, skills,  and commitment to  make Alaska a  better and                                                               
safer  place.  In  closing,  he  urged members  to  move  on  her                                                               
confirmation.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:38:49 PM                                                                                                                    
RANDY   MCLELLAN,   President,   Alaska   Correctional   Officers                                                               
Association,  (ACOA),  briefly  stated   his  personal  and  work                                                               
history,  including that  he moved  to Alaska  in 1995,  lives in                                                               
Wasilla, has  worked for the DOC  for 22 years, and  is currently                                                               
serving in  his fifth  term as president  of the  association. He                                                               
thanked Ms. Dahlstrom for recent  policy changes she implemented,                                                               
including eliminating the  day pass and amnesty  programs and the                                                               
professional conduct unit. He  expressed concern about department                                                               
morale, noting  it was at "rock  bottom" but said it  has already                                                               
improved under Ms. Dahlstrom's strong  leadership. In closing, he                                                               
advocated for her confirmation.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:41:13 PM                                                                                                                    
DEREK  JOHNSON, Staff  Sergeant; Board  Member, Region  8, Alaska                                                               
Correctional Officers Association, (ACOA),  said he has worked at                                                               
the Lemon  Creek Correctional  Facility for  nearly 10  years. He                                                               
agreed with  Mr. McLellan's  views on  department morale  and the                                                               
improvements  under  her,  that   correctional  staff  has  great                                                               
confidence  in   the  deputy  commissioners  Ms.   Dahlstrom  has                                                               
selected. In  closing he  offered his  belief that  Ms. Dahlstrom                                                               
will have a positive effect at the DOC.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:42:35 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  COONS,   President,  Greater  Alaskan  Chapter   of  Alaska                                                               
Association  of Mature  Citizens (AMAC),  said he  does not  know                                                               
either  commissioner   designee,  but  after  listening   to  the                                                               
testimony  found that  both commissioners  think "outside  of the                                                               
box." Although neither  designee has worked within  the fields of                                                               
their respective departments, they  each can analyze the criminal                                                               
justice system  and make  sound decisions.  He said  the criminal                                                               
justice  system  is   a  broken  system  and   he  supported  the                                                               
governor's emphasis  on public safety,  which will shift  and put                                                               
criminals behind bars.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:45:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES, after  first determining no one  wished to testify,                                                               
closed  public   testimony  on   the  confirmation   hearing  for                                                               
commissioner designee Dahlstrom,  Department of Corrections (DOC)                                                               
and  commissioner designee  Price,  Department  of Public  Safety                                                               
(DPS).   She  welcomed   written  testimony   submitted  to   the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:45:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   REINBOLD   highlighted    her   legislative   committee                                                               
membership,  including that  she currently  serves on  the Senate                                                               
Judiciary  and  Senate State  Affairs  Committees  and as  Chair,                                                               
Senate  Labor   and  Commerce   Committee.  She   emphasized  the                                                               
importance of  government's role in  keeping the public  safe and                                                               
her belief that  the state is failing its mission  to do so. This                                                               
could  be  attributed  to  any number  of  things  including  the                                                               
recession,  [the  opioid  epidemic],   or  passage  of  [criminal                                                               
justice  system   bills]  by  the  legislature,   she  said.  She                                                               
described  the increased  crime  in communities  and  how it  has                                                               
adversely  affected her  community and  Alaskans. She  emphasized                                                               
her support  for Ms. Price  and commended her  initiative, noting                                                               
that she  did not support  the previous DOC  commissioner because                                                               
the appointee  did not have a  plan to combat the  high incidence                                                               
of rapists not incarcerated.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  REINBOLD  thanked Ms.  Price  for  her work  on  [sexual                                                               
assault] kits  and urged  her to keep  victims at  the forefront,                                                               
use  every   dollar  wisely,   minimize  overtime,   and  provide                                                               
oversight  for  the  crime  lab.   She  asked  Ms.  Price  to  be                                                               
unconventional  in her  leadership role,  such as  shifting [top-                                                               
heavy] administration or wildlife  troopers when needed. She said                                                               
that in signing  the committee report [today]  it would represent                                                               
her  commitment to  both commissioner  designees. She  reiterated                                                               
the importance  of public safety. She  considered both appointees                                                               
as  dynamic  individuals and  thanked  them  for stepping  up  to                                                               
serve.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:49:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  asked to put  on the record that  the [academy]                                                               
training costs  were passed on  to municipalities at  his request                                                               
because  essentially  the  state was  providing  law  enforcement                                                               
training  for free  since local  government subsequently  [hired]                                                               
troopers.  At the  same time,  high-end retention  studies showed                                                               
that  compensation might  need to  be adjusted  for troopers.  He                                                               
stated that the legislature relies on data during its decision-                                                                 
making processes.  He emphasized  his support for  public safety,                                                               
law enforcement  and corrections.  He highlighted  Alaska's crime                                                               
epidemic that adversely  affects Alaskans, who do  not feel safe,                                                               
and  that increased  crime creates  additional  risks for  public                                                               
safety  and correctional  officers. He  said the  state needs  to                                                               
stop  working in  "silos." During  his  conversations with  [DPS]                                                               
management,  past  management, and  troopers  he  has only  heard                                                               
support for  Ms. Price. He  has heard support for  Ms. Dahlstrom,                                                               
as  well. He  offered his  support for  the confirmation  of both                                                               
commissioner  designees. He  offered  his belief  that the  state                                                               
must look at issues very differently than it has in the past.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:52:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHOWERS  referred  to  the  VPSO  [Village  Public  Safety                                                               
Officer] program  and stated that after  holding discussions with                                                               
tribal  leaders he  senses that  the  state could  probably do  a                                                               
better job  of using  more local enforcement  in local  areas and                                                               
improve the  program. He acknowledged  that it is  more difficult                                                               
to  bring  troopers   from  Palmer  or  Mat-Su   into  a  [rural]                                                               
community, due  to trust and  other issues. He asked  whether she                                                               
would  review the  VPSO program  to  make it  more effective  and                                                               
create  a more  engaging  presence in  the  local communities  to                                                               
complement but not compete with the AST.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  PRICE said  she would  be hard  pressed to                                                               
find someone  who would  say the VPSO  program was  effective and                                                               
successful  since  it  does  not   drive  down  crime  or  engage                                                               
communities,  and costs  over $14  million for  45 officers.  She                                                               
said she  will evaluate  the program and  will make  changes, but                                                               
she was uncertain what changes would be made.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:53:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  gave the  e-mail  address  for submitting  written                                                               
testimony: senate.judiciary@akleg.gov.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:54:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  stated that  in accordance  with AS  39.05.080, the                                                               
Senate Judiciary Standing Committee  and the Senate State Affairs                                                               
Standing  Committee reviewed  the  following  and recommends  the                                                               
appointments be forwarded to a joint session for consideration:                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner, Department of Corrections                                                                                         
Nancy Dahlstrom - Anchorage                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner, Department of Public Safety                                                                                       
Amanda Price - Anchorage                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
This does  not reflect an  intent by any  of the members  to vote                                                               
for or  against the  confirmation of  the individuals  during any                                                               
further sessions.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES stated the committee announcements.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:55:20 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further business  to come before  the committees,                                                               
Chair Hughes adjourned the joint  meeting of the Senate Judiciary                                                               
Standing  Committee and  Senate State  Affairs Committee  at 4:55                                                               
p.m.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
JUD Commissioner Public Safety Price Resume.pdf SJUD 1/24/2019 3:00:00 PM
SSTA 1/24/2019 3:00:00 PM
COMM PRICE RESUME
JUD Commissioner DOC Dahlstrom Resume.pdf SJUD 1/24/2019 3:00:00 PM
SSTA 1/24/2019 3:00:00 PM
Comm Dahlstrom Resume
SSTA Agenda week of 1.24.19.pdf SSTA 1/24/2019 3:00:00 PM
1.24.19 Agenda