Legislature(2019 - 2020)ADAMS ROOM 519

04/23/2019 09:00 AM House FINANCE

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Audio Topic
09:00:24 AM Start
09:01:27 AM SB25
09:03:27 AM Presentation: Community Perspectives on Crime
01:15:53 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to 1:00 pm --
+ Community Perspectives on Crime TELECONFERENCED
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
Scheduled but Not Heard
Moved SB 25 Out of Committee
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      April 23, 2019                                                                                            
                         9:00 a.m.                                                                                              
9:00:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Wilson called the House Finance Committee meeting                                                                      
to order at 9:00 a.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Neal Foster, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Tammie Wilson, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Jennifer Johnston, Vice-Chair                                                                                    
Representative Dan Ortiz, Vice-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Ben Carpenter                                                                                                    
Representative Andy Josephson                                                                                                   
Representative Gary Knopp                                                                                                       
Representative Bart LeBon                                                                                                       
Representative Kelly Merrick                                                                                                    
Representative Colleen Sullivan-Leonard                                                                                         
Representative Cathy Tilton                                                                                                     
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Ed Mercer, Chief of Police,  Juneau Police Department; David                                                                    
Campbell,  Lieutenant,  Juneau  Police  Department;  Michael                                                                    
Duxbury, Deputy  Commissioner, Department of  Public Safety;                                                                    
Senator David Wilson; Representative Matt Claman.                                                                               
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Steve Dutra, Chief of Police, North Pole; Heath Scott,                                                                          
Chief, Haines Police Department.                                                                                                
SB 25       EXTEND BOARD OF DENTAL EXAMINERS                                                                                    
            SB 25  was REPORTED out of committee  with a "do                                                                    
            pass"  recommendation and  with  one new  fiscal                                                                    
            impact  note  by  the  Department  of  Commerce,                                                                    
            Community and Economic Development.                                                                                 
PRESENTATION: COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVES ON CRIME                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Wilson  reviewed  the  agenda  for  the  day.  She                                                                    
indicated she hoped to move SB 25 out of committee.                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 25                                                                                                            
     "An Act extending the termination date of the Board of                                                                     
     Dental Examiners; and providing for an effective                                                                           
9:01:27 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Wilson  indicated there was  a new fiscal  note for                                                                    
SB 25.  She explained  that the  fiscal note  regarding just                                                                    
the board reflected travel costs  of $33,600. There was also                                                                    
an expense of  $1,500 for services. In  the previous version                                                                    
of the fiscal note, she  thought it did not reflect expenses                                                                    
having to  do with  regulations and  other things  the board                                                                    
did. In the revised fiscal note  on the back page, it showed                                                                    
incoming    revenue,     direct    expenditures,    indirect                                                                    
expenditures,  and  total  expenses.  It  also  required  by                                                                    
statute that  each board was self-sufficient,  allowing them                                                                    
to adjust  licensing fees based  on gains and  deficits. She                                                                    
clarified that  there was a cost  to each of the  boards for                                                                    
the review and development of regulations.                                                                                      
Vice-Chair Johnston MOVED  to report SB 25  out of Committee                                                                    
with individual recommendations  and the accompanying fiscal                                                                    
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
SB  25  was REPORTED  out  of  committee  with a  "do  pass"                                                                    
recommendation and  with one new  fiscal impact note  by the                                                                    
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.                                                                     
^PRESENTATION: COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVES ON CRIME                                                                                
9:03:27 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Wilson invited  the testifiers  to the  table. She                                                                    
explained that  the committee had heard  from the Department                                                                    
of  Law  and other  departments.  She  wanted to  hear  from                                                                    
people  out in  the  communities. She  indicated wanting  to                                                                    
hear  about  how  things  were   going  in  communities  and                                                                    
anything that might make law enforcement's jobs easier.                                                                         
STEVE   DUTRA,   CHIEF   OF    POLICE,   NORTH   POLE   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  reported  some   of  the  largest  impacts                                                                    
resulting from the  passage of SB 91 had to  do with efforts                                                                    
made in his  area to crack down  on drug use. He  had seen a                                                                    
drastic impact to arrests and  apprehension of drug dealers.                                                                    
He  specifically  noted  the  increase  to  the  amounts  in                                                                    
possession of  serious drugs to  .5 grams and  the reduction                                                                    
to misdemeanors  for possession  of any 1A  or 2A  drug. The                                                                    
changes were significant because  alterations from felony to                                                                    
misdemeanor caused  the drug dealers  and users to  not want                                                                    
to turn  in their drug  dealers which hugely  impacted being                                                                    
able  to apprehend  the  "Big Fish."  He  reported that  the                                                                    
issue  was a  statewide problem  based on  his conversations                                                                    
with other chiefs within the state.                                                                                             
Chief Dutra reported  that bail schedules set  by the courts                                                                    
had caused problems with processing.  Getting people back on                                                                    
the  streets   quickly  made  it  difficult   to  keep  them                                                                    
incarcerated when they were causing  a significant amount of                                                                    
trouble.  He  also pointed  out  issues  to do  with  sexual                                                                    
assault  and   sexual  abuse  of   a  minor.  Some   of  the                                                                    
legislation  in  front of  the  committee,  including HB  52                                                                    
[Legislation introduced  by the  governor in  2019 regarding                                                                    
crimes,   sex  crimes,   sentencing,   and  parole],   HB 49                                                                    
[Legislation  passed in  2019 regarding  crimes, sentencing,                                                                    
drugs, theft,  and reports],  and HB 14  [Legislation passed                                                                    
in  2019  regarding  assault,  sex  offenses,  and  sentence                                                                    
aggravators] were critical. He  also noted SB 3 [Legislation                                                                    
introduced  in  2019  regarding,  harassment,  sex  offender                                                                    
registry, and  sex motivated crimes] and  SB 20 [Legislation                                                                    
introduced in  2019 by the governor  regarding the operating                                                                    
budget].  They all  had an  impact on  statewide efforts  to                                                                    
reduce  major  problems the  state  was  having with  sexual                                                                    
assault  of minors  and sexual  assaults  across the  state.                                                                    
Although  he  did  not  have many  studies  to  support  his                                                                    
previous  statement,  he had  been  told  by several  chiefs                                                                    
within  the  Alaska  State  Troopers that  it  was  a  large                                                                    
statewide problem.                                                                                                              
Chief Dutra discussed HB 79  regarding the Public Employees'                                                                    
Retirement System (PERS) defined  benefit currently in front                                                                    
of finance.  There was a huge  impact on trying to  fill its                                                                    
ranks. He concluded his testimony.                                                                                              
9:06:37 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative Sullivan-Leonard asked  about the drug issues                                                                    
in his community. She wondered  what the drug of choice was.                                                                    
Chief  Dutra  responded  that  he   was  seeing  heroin  and                                                                    
opioids.   There   was   some    trickling   back   of   the                                                                    
Co-Chair Wilson asked about the  issue with the current bail                                                                    
schedule.  Chief Dutra  responded that  bail schedules  were                                                                    
set across  the state as  a standard. Many of  the schedules                                                                    
were releasing  folks on RO  [Released on  recognizance]. He                                                                    
indicated that  the chief from  Fairbanks was  seeing repeat                                                                    
offenders on  a single day  causing issues for  officers and                                                                    
increasing call volumes.                                                                                                        
Co-Chair  Wilson asked  if he  was  talking about  pre-trial                                                                    
where an  assessment was done  that could allow  for someone                                                                    
to reoffend  a second time  and still  get out on  their own                                                                    
recognizance. Chief Dutra replied, "Yes, that's correct."                                                                       
9:08:27 AM                                                                                                                    
ED  MERCER,  CHIEF  OF  POLICE,  JUNEAU  POLICE  DEPARTMENT,                                                                    
appreciated  the opportunity  to address  the committee.  He                                                                    
had been in  law enforcement for about 26 years.  He spent a                                                                    
good part of his career in  Juneau. He invited his deputy to                                                                    
introduce himself.                                                                                                              
9:09:18 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  CAMPBELL,   LIEUTENANT,  JUNEAU   POLICE  DEPARTMENT,                                                                    
introduced himself  and indicated he was  a lifelong Alaskan                                                                    
born in Fairbanks. He had  been in law enforcement in Juneau                                                                    
for about 24 years. He  had a bachelor's degree and master's                                                                    
degree and was a graduate of the 2016 FBI National Academy.                                                                     
Chief  Mercer provided  a  high overview  of  the crime  the                                                                    
police  department was  seeing in  Juneau. He  reported that                                                                    
from 2015  to 2017 he saw  an 84 percent increase  in part 1                                                                    
crimes. He  indicated that  of the  part 1  crimes, burglary                                                                    
and burglary  and theft  were the high  water marks  for the                                                                    
city.  He reported  a slight  decline in  2018. Some  of the                                                                    
contributing factors included  the national opioid epidemic.                                                                    
He  was seeing  high volumes  of heroin  and methamphetamine                                                                    
coming into  the community and users  contributing. In terms                                                                    
of  crime statistics,  the Juneau  Police  had been  working                                                                    
double  time dealing  with repeat  offenders.  He was  asked                                                                    
frequently by members of the  public whether there were more                                                                    
criminals on the street. He  did not believe there were more                                                                    
criminals. He thought the department  had done a good job of                                                                    
identifying individuals  committing crimes and  working with                                                                    
prosecutors  to  address  the issues.  Many  of  the  repeat                                                                    
offenses were  burglaries and thefts. He  continued that one                                                                    
of the issues he was running  into was a lack of prosecutors                                                                    
in  Juneau.  He noted  that  prior  to  2014, there  were  4                                                                    
district attorneys in  the area. Since then,  the number was                                                                    
reduced to 3  district attorneys and a  reduction in support                                                                    
staff.  Many cases  sent to  the district  attorney's office                                                                    
were being dismissed. There might  15 cases against the same                                                                    
individual  over  similar  activities. He  also  highlighted                                                                    
that  once the  police  identified the  person committing  a                                                                    
crime,  they learned  that the  offender  had conditions  of                                                                    
release from the  courts, they were being taken  to jail and                                                                    
released  within   the  hour.   More  citizens   were  being                                                                    
victimized within Juneau.                                                                                                       
9:12:36 AM                                                                                                                    
Lieutenant  Campbell  wanted  to  provide  some  real  world                                                                    
examples. He  thought it  was one thing  to say  that people                                                                    
were reoffending over  and over. Some of  the press releases                                                                    
the  Juneau Police  Department had  done recently  reflected                                                                    
the non-sensical reality  of what was going  on. He reported                                                                    
an incident  the previous  December where  one of  the local                                                                    
high users  of police  services, someone the  department had                                                                    
dealt  with  frequently,  was   involved.  The  suspect  was                                                                    
arrested for  a series of  burglaries in August. On  his way                                                                    
back from the  court house he kicked out the  rear window of                                                                    
the  trooper car  that  was transporting  him  and tried  to                                                                    
escape.  The   suspect  had  serious  charges   against  him                                                                    
including his attempted escape.  The police found him hiding                                                                    
under a  car a couple of  hours later. He continued  that he                                                                    
was released  from the  court to meet  with his  attorney on                                                                    
December 12,  2018. He was  told to be  back at the  jail at                                                                    
2:00 P.M. He did not return,  and the police ended up having                                                                    
multiple foot pursuits with him until he was apprehended.                                                                       
Lieutenant Campbell  spoke of another  case in 2016  where a                                                                    
man  was  brutally  assaulted in  downtown  Juneau  and  was                                                                    
medevaced  to  Seattle due  to  facial  injuries. The  press                                                                    
release indicated that the suspect  was in the downtown area                                                                    
and arrested for  assault in the second degree.  He was also                                                                    
under  court-ordered conditions  of release  for assault  in                                                                    
the third degree  dated 3 days prior. The  man had committed                                                                    
a  felony assault,  was released  from jail,  and thereafter                                                                    
assaulted  a  Juneau  resident  causing  the  victim  to  be                                                                    
medevaced to Seattle.                                                                                                           
Vice-Chair  Johnston  asked  what  aspects  of  SB  91  [the                                                                    
omnibus  crime  bill legislation  passed  in  2016] or  bail                                                                    
conditions set  by the  courts applied  to the  situation in                                                                    
his last  example from  2016. Lieutenant  Campbell responded                                                                    
that  the man  was arrested  for a  felony and  was released                                                                    
within days. Under normal circumstances,  given the level of                                                                    
his offense, he would have been held.                                                                                           
Co-Chair Johnston asked if the  release occurred as a result                                                                    
of  the risk  tool. She  was trying  to figure  out why  the                                                                    
incident happened. She was aware  that SB 91 was released in                                                                    
stages.  She asked  for  clarification. Lieutenant  Campbell                                                                    
responded that  he did not look  at the specifics as  to why                                                                    
the person was  released. It was obvious to  the police that                                                                    
the person had  committed a very serious crime  and within a                                                                    
matter of  days was  released and committed  another serious                                                                    
crime. He  could investigate the  matter further  and report                                                                    
back to the committee.                                                                                                          
Vice-Chair  Johnston  thought  it would  be  interesting  to                                                                    
know, as the  legislature was trying to figure  out what was                                                                    
really  needed. Lieutenant  Campbell commented  that he  was                                                                    
providing  examples of  people  who reoffended.  He had  his                                                                    
staff pull  some numbers prior  to the committee  hearing to                                                                    
demonstrate what the police department  was dealing with. He                                                                    
reported that  in the last  3 years from 2016  through 2018,                                                                    
in Juneau there  had been 117 different  people charged with                                                                    
violating conditions  of release. In other  words, they were                                                                    
released but did not do what  they were supposed to. In some                                                                    
cases, there  were multiple charges of  violating conditions                                                                    
of release.  For example, in  2019 a person was  arrested on                                                                    
February 26th  for resisting arrest  and interfering  with a                                                                    
police officer. On  March 1st, the same  person was arrested                                                                    
for  violating conditions  of release  and seven  days later                                                                    
for disorderly  conduct for challenging  a person  to fight.                                                                    
The  Juneau Police  Department  was  seeing multiple  people                                                                    
repeatedly   committing    crimes,   being    release,   and                                                                    
recommitting crimes.  The department had the  stats to prove                                                                    
9:18:11 AM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Ortiz  referred to  the first  example Lieutenant                                                                    
Campbell had provided. He wondered  if SB 91 had anything to                                                                    
do with the  individual being released to  visit his lawyer.                                                                    
Lieutenant  Campbell   did  not  know  the   answer  to  his                                                                    
question. He noted  that he was simply  reporting the things                                                                    
that caused more work for  police officers in the field that                                                                    
could be rectified.                                                                                                             
Vice-Chair Ortiz  wanted to  know what  could be  done about                                                                    
reducing  crime.  He  wondered if  Lieutenant  Campbell  was                                                                    
saying  that  nothing  could  be  done  about  the  problem.                                                                    
Lieutenant Campbell responded in  the negative. He had never                                                                    
in his career seen people  being released so early which was                                                                    
changing   the   dynamic   between   law   enforcement   and                                                                    
reoffenders.  He suggested  higher sentences  or imposing  a                                                                    
limitation  on  the courts'  ability  to  release people  in                                                                    
custody.  He indicated  there were  criminals  in the  field                                                                    
that were  mocking officers,  knowing they  would be  out of                                                                    
jail quickly.                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Wilson  asked  for  clarity.  Lieutenant  Campbell                                                                    
responded  that it  was possible  that  the recidivism  rate                                                                    
could go down  but, the crime rate could go  up if there was                                                                    
a  small  number of  people  committing  several crimes.  He                                                                    
reported  that  in  Juneau  the  police  department  tracked                                                                    
people who were considered to  be high users of services. He                                                                    
cited a  dip in crime  in 2018,  at which time  the frequent                                                                    
reoffenders were  behind bars. He noted  the opioid epidemic                                                                    
across the nation.  He suggested there was no  such thing as                                                                    
a  functional heroin  addict.  He was  seeing  a very  large                                                                    
spike in property crimes due  to people trying to fill their                                                                    
drug habit.                                                                                                                     
9:22:17 AM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Johnston  spoke to the notion  of recidivism. she                                                                    
noted  the prison  in  Juneau. She  wondered  if the  police                                                                    
department  had  statistics  for people  released  from  the                                                                    
prison who  were not  from Juneau  but reoffended  in Juneau                                                                    
after their  release. Chief Mercer indicated  the department                                                                    
did  not  have  the  data   but,  he  thought  many  of  the                                                                    
individuals released on probation reoffended.                                                                                   
Representative  Carpenter  asked  if the  department  had  a                                                                    
process where it took individual  cases or data to the court                                                                    
system    to     work    through     process    improvements                                                                    
collaboratively.  Lieutenant  Campbell  responded  that  the                                                                    
police  department  worked  with  the  prosecutor's  office.                                                                    
Recently,  the changes  in the  structure of  sentencing was                                                                    
bogging down  the prosecutor's office  with more  cases. The                                                                    
opportunity for  dismissal was  higher than  it had  been in                                                                    
the  past. Offenders  were no  longer as  willing to  take a                                                                    
plea deal  because of the  dismissal rate. Many  good viable                                                                    
cases were  being dismissed due  to a lack of  resources. He                                                                    
asked the chief to comment about the dismissal rate.                                                                            
Chief Mercer  received data  from a  police officer  that in                                                                    
one  jurisdiction 81  percent of  the  cases submitted  were                                                                    
dismissed. He  believed 19  cases were  taken. Going  back 3                                                                    
years, the  same jurisdiction  had about  40 percent  of the                                                                    
cases taken up  by the prosecutor's office. He  did not have                                                                    
the information for Juneau.                                                                                                     
Lieutenant Campbell  added that the problem  with dismissing                                                                    
a  viable   case  was  that   the  offender  was   not  held                                                                    
accountable  and the  victim did  not  receive justice.  The                                                                    
offender  never  reached  the point  of  having  a  criminal                                                                    
history to rise to the  higher levels of accountability. The                                                                    
Juneau  police worked  with its  prosecutor  to inform  them                                                                    
that a seemingly low level  case was important to prosecute.                                                                    
It had been helpful working  with the state's prosecutors to                                                                    
enable them to make appropriate arguments in court.                                                                             
9:27:02 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Carpenter  suggested  that if  tougher  laws                                                                    
were in  place, more criminals  would be behind  bars. There                                                                    
would  be   fewer  repeat  offenders   and  less   need  for                                                                    
prosecutors.   He  asked   if  his   argument  made   sense.                                                                    
Lieutenant Campbell  agreed with the representative.  He was                                                                    
uncertain of the point of view of time.                                                                                         
Representative   Carpenter    wondered   if    adding   more                                                                    
prosecutors  would  be  a  band aide  on  the  problem.  The                                                                    
problem was the criminals were  not where they were supposed                                                                    
to be  for a reason.  He wondered  about the 80  percent. He                                                                    
wondered who  owned the problem.  He wondered if it  was the                                                                    
prosecutors, law enforcement, or the courts.                                                                                    
Lieutenant  Campbell responded  that the  different entities                                                                    
needed  to  work together.  He  agreed  with the  underlying                                                                    
mentality of SB 91 that if  a person was a drug addict, they                                                                    
should be  treated for drug  addiction. One of  the problems                                                                    
was that  there was  no place  to divert  people. Therefore,                                                                    
people  were  committing  crimes repeatedly  in  communities                                                                    
which was  why the system  was dealing with the  same people                                                                    
Co-Chair Wilson  thought Juneau was a  little different than                                                                    
Anchorage.  She  asked if  Juneau  had  its own  prosecutors                                                                    
prosecuting misdemeanors.  In Fairbanks they  [the Fairbanks                                                                    
Police Department] made the arrest  but everything else went                                                                    
to  the  state.  She  revisited her  question  about  Juneau                                                                    
having its own prosecutors  and whether they only prosecuted                                                                    
Chief Mercer responded  that Juneau was fortunate  to have a                                                                    
city  attorney's office  that  dealt  with misdemeanor  type                                                                    
crimes.  Regarding pre-trial,  he believed  the same  matrix                                                                    
was used to determine how a  person was released on bail and                                                                    
dealt with further through the criminal justice system.                                                                         
Co-Chair Wilson asked  if a backlog remained  because of not                                                                    
having  an   additional  district  attorney.   Chief  Mercer                                                                    
responded that  she was accurate.  It was  impactful because                                                                    
the  district  attorney's  office  was focused  on  all  the                                                                    
felony cases.  All the misdemeanor  cases were  being pushed                                                                    
off  to  the  city   prosecutors  who  also  struggled  with                                                                    
Co-Chair  Wilson suggested  that if  the city  did not  take                                                                    
them on [the misdemeanor cases],  the backlog of cases would                                                                    
be  even greater.  Chief Mercer  responded,  "That would  be                                                                    
Co-Chair Wilson thought Anchorage would concur.                                                                                 
Representative Carpenter asked what  process was in place to                                                                    
address  the  reoffending  individuals. He  understood  that                                                                    
multiple   entities   were    involved   in   the   criminal                                                                    
administration  process. He  was  concerned  with not  truly                                                                    
addressing the  problem with crime.  He wanted to  know what                                                                    
needed to  be done to fix  the problem. He wondered  who was                                                                    
responsible. He  did not think  people were engaging  in the                                                                    
improvement process.  He asked  if a process  of improvement                                                                    
existed. Chief Mercer responded that  it existed, but not to                                                                    
the extent  the representative mentioned. The  Juneau Police                                                                    
Department worked very closely  with prosecutors to identify                                                                    
reoffending  individuals.  The  police  department  had  not                                                                    
combined efforts with the court system.                                                                                         
9:33:19 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Wilson   relayed  that  several  of   the  related                                                                    
entities  would be  participating in  a meeting  together in                                                                    
the House  Finance Committee  later in  the week.  She hoped                                                                    
they  would  discuss the  missing  links  and how  to  avoid                                                                    
working in  silos. She mentioned that  often the legislature                                                                    
made  changes without  all  the  necessary information.  She                                                                    
wanted to bridge  the gap. She admitted that,  at times, the                                                                    
legislature was guilty of working within its' own silo.                                                                         
Representative Tilton  brought up  what had been  said about                                                                    
the police being mocked. She  had heard the same thing doing                                                                    
ride-a-longs with  other police agencies. She  thought there                                                                    
was an  attitude amongst offenders. She  asked if Lieutenant                                                                    
Campbell  thought there  had been  an  attitude shift,  what                                                                    
might have powered the change, and when it began.                                                                               
Lieutenant Campbell believed that  the attitude of offenders                                                                    
had changed. He noted that  more officers were having to use                                                                    
force  because of  being assaulted.  Since the  beginning of                                                                    
the  year, three  officers within  his  department had  been                                                                    
assaulted requiring  them to  go on  light duty.  He thought                                                                    
the negative  attitudes were increasing. He  noted that more                                                                    
individuals  ran  from the  police  to  escape. Although  he                                                                    
could not pin point when  the attitude shifted, he confirmed                                                                    
an overall attitude change towards officers.                                                                                    
Representative Josephson  asked if  either the chief  or the                                                                    
lieutenant  attended  bail   hearings.  Lieutenant  Campbell                                                                    
responded that  he did  not. Representative  Josephson asked                                                                    
if  his  officers  attended the  bail  hearings.  Lieutenant                                                                    
Campbell responded  that they did not  typically attend bail                                                                    
hearings.   He   explained   that   once   police   officers                                                                    
investigated a  case and turned  it over to  the prosecutor,                                                                    
they were no longer involved  in the process unless asked to                                                                    
Representative Josephson  asked because sometimes  there was                                                                    
a presumption  to overcome OR [Own  recognizance] in certain                                                                    
circumstances.  He mentioned  that regarding  burglaries, at                                                                    
the  peak of  the crime  wave in  Anchorage the  crimes were                                                                    
simply  not  investigated.  The police  department  did  not                                                                    
respond  to calls  because there  were so  many of  them. He                                                                    
asked   what  the   practice  was   by  the   Juneau  Police                                                                    
Department. In Anchorage, regarding  burglaries, at the peak                                                                    
of   the  crime   wave,  the   police  department   did  not                                                                    
investigate all the crimes. Chief  Mercer responded that the                                                                    
Juneau  Police   Department  investigated  all   cases.  The                                                                    
reoffenders helped to double their work.                                                                                        
9:37:46 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Sullivan-Leonard  noted  that  part  of  the                                                                    
administration's  crime  bill  package related  to  stricter                                                                    
drug crime laws. She thought  she was hearing the lieutenant                                                                    
and  chief say  that  most repeat  offenders  were the  ones                                                                    
using drugs. She  asked if the stricter  laws being proposed                                                                    
by  the   administration  would  help  to   get  the  repeat                                                                    
offenders  behind bars.  Chief Mercer  thought reclassifying                                                                    
drug  offenders   back  to  the  felony   level  would  help                                                                    
immensely and would help the offenders to get help.                                                                             
Representative Sullivan-Leonard conveyed  an experience of a                                                                    
friend  in  Juneau   who  was  a  business   owner  who  was                                                                    
burglarized then  stalked. She professed the  revolving door                                                                    
for repeat  offenders had to  stop. She hoped  the committee                                                                    
would be hearing the administration's  course of crime bills                                                                    
9:40:05 AM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Johnston inquired  about  recreational drug  use                                                                    
amounts  versus  drug  dealer amounts.  She  asked  how  the                                                                    
department    handled   the    different   categories    and                                                                    
delineations.  Chief Mercer  responded  that  in an  officer                                                                    
came across  an individual with paraphernalia  with residue,                                                                    
they  would  not typically  make  an  arrest initially.  The                                                                    
police  would work  with  a crime  lab  to evaluate  whether                                                                    
there  was  enough to  justifying  a  pursuit. Personal  use                                                                    
typically fell under Marijuana use  as a gauge. When it came                                                                    
to  more  dangerous  drugs,  being   in  possession  of  any                                                                    
quantity was  handled more severely. Possession  rather than                                                                    
quantity was used as a gauge with more dangerous drugs.                                                                         
Lieutenant  Campbell added  that  the distribution  included                                                                    
intent  which   was  more  difficult  to   prove  in  court.                                                                    
Possession  was a  much easier  charge to  deal with  from a                                                                    
prosecutor's  stand  point.  He  and the  chief  had  worked                                                                    
narcotics  in  the early  days  of  their careers  and  were                                                                    
familiar with  the outlook of  the narcotics  world. Another                                                                    
change the department had experienced  with drugs going from                                                                    
a  felon down  to  a  misdemeanor was  that  prior to  2016,                                                                    
possession of more  serious drugs was a felony.  After SB 91                                                                    
the charge was a misdemeanor.  He had seen news reports from                                                                    
Anchorage  and Juneau  about intravenous  drug users  in the                                                                    
public on  sidewalks. It  was a  misdemeanor charge.  He did                                                                    
not ever remember seeing that  when the charge was a felony.                                                                    
Prior to  2016, someone in  possession of a harder  drug was                                                                    
automatically  sent to  jail. Presently,  if the  department                                                                    
found someone  in possession  of a  small amount,  it merely                                                                    
required an appearance  in court. He concluded  that how the                                                                    
department dealt with drugs  changed dramatically because of                                                                    
the lowering of classifications of them.                                                                                        
Vice-Chair  Johnston  spoke  of  a  huge  meth  issue  which                                                                    
eventually  shifted  to heroin  use  in  the late  90s.  She                                                                    
wanted to  better understand the  population of  drug users.                                                                    
She brought up  2015 versus prior to 2015.  Chief Mercer was                                                                    
unsure  if  there  were  more  users  out  on  the  streets.                                                                    
However, he could attest to the  larger impact of the use of                                                                    
the  more   dangerous  drugs.  He  commented   that  it  was                                                                    
impactful  in  Juneau.  Vice-Chair   Johnston  spoke  of  an                                                                    
earlier time  when hard  drugs were out  on the  streets and                                                                    
the impact.                                                                                                                     
9:45:59 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative Josephson  spoke of a case  he was previously                                                                    
involved with  in Point  Hope resulting in  a full  trial on                                                                    
cocaine possession.  Currently the  offence would be  an "A"                                                                    
misdemeanor. As he understood the  law, the first 2 offenses                                                                    
were not  jail-able. The third  offense was jail-able  as an                                                                    
"A"  misdemeanor. He  wondered  if an  officer  looked at  a                                                                    
crime as "not  worth their time." He suggested  that one way                                                                    
to  leverage a  person into  treatment  would be  to have  a                                                                    
jail-able  threat. Chief  Mercer responded  that one  of his                                                                    
concerns  as   the  chief  of  police   was  motivating  his                                                                    
workforce  to continue  to  do their  jobs.  He thought  the                                                                    
scenario  the  representative   mentioned  might  happen  on                                                                    
occasion. His  officers tried to  address each  issue taking                                                                    
necessary  actions to  make good  cases.  His officers  were                                                                    
using  their discretion  to  apply the  law  based on  their                                                                    
Representative LeBon asked  if there had been  a decrease of                                                                    
hard  drug use  with  the legalization  of Marijuana.  Chief                                                                    
Mercer  responded that  in his  experience  in dealing  with                                                                    
hard drug  users, they preferred  hard drugs. He  thought it                                                                    
was  safe to  say that  not  all Marijuana  users used  hard                                                                    
drugs, but all  hard drug users tended to  use Marijuana. He                                                                    
had not seen  the legalization of Marijuana have  much of an                                                                    
impact on  the use of  harder drugs and  other ramifications                                                                    
dealing with  the residual  crime of  people trying  to feed                                                                    
their habit.                                                                                                                    
9:49:54 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Knopp revisited  the example  of the  guy in                                                                    
jail  who  was let  out  to  visit  his attorney  and  never                                                                    
returned to jail.  He asked who allowed the guy  to walk out                                                                    
and visit his attorney. He  wondered if SB 91 contributed to                                                                    
the incident.  He was trying  to better understand  the need                                                                    
for changing  SB 91. Lieutenant Campbell  responded that the                                                                    
guy  kicked  out the  window  escaping  from the  transport.                                                                    
Later  he  was  released  by  the court  to  meet  with  his                                                                    
attorney. His release was court  ordered and required him to                                                                    
return  by 2:00  p.m.  which he  did not  do.  Based on  the                                                                    
offender's history  and activities,  his actions  should not                                                                    
have been a surprise.                                                                                                           
Representative Knopp commented that  the judicial system had                                                                    
changed  significantly. When  he  was  young judges  decided                                                                    
penalties  of cases.  He thought  currently, penalties  were                                                                    
negotiated before ever  reaching the court room.  He did not                                                                    
understand the  rational for  that individual's  release. He                                                                    
still wondered  if SB 91  influenced the  offender's release                                                                    
to visit his attorney. He was struggling to fix SB 91.                                                                          
Co-Chair Wilson  commented that unless  everyone was  at the                                                                    
table  to  discuss  a  fix  for the  problem,  it  would  be                                                                    
difficult to  fix the problem. There  was not a fault  of an                                                                    
individual  or agency.  There  were  over 5,000  individuals                                                                    
currently in  pre-trial status sitting  outside of  jail who                                                                    
would likely  reoffend. She suggested  finding out  where in                                                                    
the process  the system was  breaking down. She  opined that                                                                    
SB 91 changed  many things at once. There was  a vast number                                                                    
of  aspects to  SB 91  which  made it  difficult to  collect                                                                    
data. She was  going to try to get everyone  together in the                                                                    
same room.                                                                                                                      
Representative  LeBon  asked if  it  had  been an  error  on                                                                    
someone's  part  to  release  the   guy  to  meet  with  his                                                                    
attorney.  He  wondered if  it  had  to  do  with SB  91  or                                                                    
someone's  bad judgement.  Chief Mercer  could not  speak to                                                                    
the  case. However,  he did  relay that  the average  person                                                                    
released  on  bail  was  likely   to  reoffend.  The  police                                                                    
department was dealing with several challenges daily.                                                                           
Representative  LeBon asked  for  more details  of the  case                                                                    
example and  whether SB 91  had to do with  the individual's                                                                    
release.  Lieutenant Campbell  was unaware  of the  specific                                                                    
details  of  the  case. The  example  was  not  specifically                                                                    
supplied to  illustrate the negatives  of SB 91.  Rather, it                                                                    
was  used to  show  that the  Juneau  Police Department  was                                                                    
dealing with  the same people often  reoffending. Every time                                                                    
a person reoffended, a new victim was created.                                                                                  
Co-Chair Wilson  reminded members  that at the  beginning of                                                                    
SB 91  there was mandatory own-recognizance  which no longer                                                                    
existed in law. It was fixed in other legislation.                                                                              
9:59:08 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  LeBon  was trying  to  make  the point  that                                                                    
perhaps the law  changed since the incident  provided in the                                                                    
example. He  suggested that perhaps the  individual had been                                                                    
mandated to be  released to see his attorney.  He thought it                                                                    
would have  been better for  someone to evaluate  whether it                                                                    
was  a  good  idea  to   release  a  jailed  individual.  He                                                                    
suggested bringing an attorney to the jail for a meeting.                                                                       
Co-Chair  Wilson  mentioned  that the  risk  assessment  was                                                                    
being evaluated to  see if additions needed to  be made. She                                                                    
stated that there was a process in place.                                                                                       
Representative   Carpenter   recognized  that   the   police                                                                    
department's job was  to recognize and deal  with bad things                                                                    
happening in a community. He  thought officers of the police                                                                    
force  got   to  know  the   habitual  offenders   in  their                                                                    
communities.  He  asked  if  there  was  evidence  that  the                                                                    
state's reformation  process or  drug treatment  process was                                                                    
Lieutenant  Campbell  replied  that  hearing  an  offender's                                                                    
success story  was one of the  best things to happen  on the                                                                    
job. He spoke  of a campaign called the  "Year of Kindness."                                                                    
Part  of  the  event  was engaging  with  a  local  re-entry                                                                    
coalition.  The coalition  had success  stories periodically                                                                    
that  were  posted  on  Facebook. In  his  experience  as  a                                                                    
narcotics  officer,  a person  typically  had  a reason  for                                                                    
choosing the  path of addiction  which was why  he supported                                                                    
increased penalties for drug  possession charges. He thought                                                                    
giving a reason  for a person to change  their lifestyle was                                                                    
crucial.  He  believed  treatment  was  key  to  a  person's                                                                    
success and, the state needed more of it.                                                                                       
Vice-Chair Johnston  asked if either  officer had  any input                                                                    
in the  pre-trial risk tool.  Chief Mercer  responded, "No."                                                                    
Vice-Chair   Johnston  asked   Chief   Mercer   if  he   saw                                                                    
opportunities,  going forward,  to be  involved in  the pre-                                                                    
trial risk tool. Chief Mercer  answered that he had not been                                                                    
presented with an opportunity to  be more involved with pre-                                                                    
trial enforcement. He  noted that on the  onset of pre-trial                                                                    
enforcement he tried to work  as close as possible [with the                                                                    
court] about expressing concerns about reoffenders.                                                                             
10:03:28 AM                                                                                                                   
Vice-Chair  Johnston asked  if the  department had  seen the                                                                    
pre-trial risk  tool. Lieutenant  Campbell indicated  he had                                                                    
seen it.  Prior to pre-trial  coming into effect  in January                                                                    
2018,  the  former mayor  of  Juneau  had put  together  the                                                                    
Public  Safety Task  Force, which  he had  sat on.  A person                                                                    
from  pre-trial came  out to  show the  department the  pre-                                                                    
trial  matrix   Co-Chair  Johnston  was  referring   to.  He                                                                    
reported having  monthly meetings  with patrol  officers and                                                                    
pre-trial  officers and,  they were  integrating very  well.                                                                    
The  communication  had  really  helped.  He  had  heard  of                                                                    
frustration  where  the matrix  tool  had  been used  for  a                                                                    
defendant who  scored 10 out  of 10 but remained  under O.R.                                                                    
release. He  thought the  matrix could  be improved  and was                                                                    
interested in being involved in the process.                                                                                    
Chief Mercer indicated that his  biggest concern was keeping                                                                    
his  workforce  motivated.  He wanted  his  officers  to  be                                                                    
responsive to citizens if they  were being victimized. Also,                                                                    
he noted  the department experiencing a  workload double-up.                                                                    
Law   enforcement  was   already  struggling   with  filling                                                                    
positions. He  opined that the drug  classification would be                                                                    
a good tool.  He noted that the pre-trial  bail schedule and                                                                    
holding  onto individuals  to  avoid  them reoffending  were                                                                    
worthy things  to consider. He  suggested that  the pretrial                                                                    
bail  schedule  should  be  changed   to  allow  for  longer                                                                    
Co-Chair Wilson  thanked the presenters  for their  time and                                                                    
10:06:19 AM                                                                                                                   
HEATH   SCOTT,   CHIEF,   HAINES  POLICE   DEPARTMENT   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  introduced himself.  He  wanted to  affirm                                                                    
aspects   of  Chief   Mercer's  and   Lieutenant  Campbell's                                                                    
testimonies. He  noted seeing some  of the same  problems as                                                                    
the  previous testifiers  with a  lack of  resources in  the                                                                    
prosecutor's  office.  He conveyed  that  a  lack of  travel                                                                    
resources  for a  prosecutor to  travel to  rural areas  had                                                                    
become an issue. He reported  the district attorney's office                                                                    
in Juneau going  through some transitions and,  he wanted to                                                                    
be supportive of that team.  He spoke of wanting prosecutors                                                                    
in rural  communities to  be able  to adjudicate  crimes. He                                                                    
hoped to  see prosecutors that represented  Haines, Skagway,                                                                    
and the outlying areas better  represented in his community.                                                                    
The  district  attorney's  office  had reported  a  lack  of                                                                    
travel  funding. He  thought travel  needed to  be supported                                                                    
for prosecutions in rural locations.                                                                                            
Chief Scott  agreed with Chief  Mercer that there  needed to                                                                    
be  a  reevaluation  of misdemeanor  sentences  specifically                                                                    
misconduct involving  controlled substances  in the  4th and                                                                    
5th degree. He conveyed that  the use of small quantities in                                                                    
rural  communities   had  a  large  effect.   He  thought  a                                                                    
reevaluation of  the misdemeanor  sentences would go  a long                                                                    
way  and  supporting  some context  for  attacking  problems                                                                    
earlier. He  also noted  that the risk  tool that  was being                                                                    
used  did  not  take  into  account  out-of-state  offenses,                                                                    
processes currently being  dealt with by the  courts but not                                                                    
yet adjudicated out.  He relayed he had only  been in Alaska                                                                    
for about  3 years.  He was originally  from the  East Coast                                                                    
and had spent 23 years  in law enforcement. He was concerned                                                                    
with  the rate  of  attrition -  the  acquisition rates  and                                                                    
retention  rates that  the chiefs  were  feeling around  the                                                                    
state. He  supported the  way of  a defined  benefit program                                                                    
for officers  to aid  with retention. He  thought it  was an                                                                    
important subject that needed to be addressed long-term.                                                                        
Co-Chair  Wilson asked  Chief  Scott to  help the  committee                                                                    
understand the process  of an arrest in  Haines. Chief Scott                                                                    
replied  it  depended  on the  circumstances.  There  was  a                                                                    
district court  and a magistrate  in Haines. Often  when the                                                                    
magistrate  was   not  available   in  court  there   was  a                                                                    
magistrate  from Yakutat  who Haines  used. The  officers in                                                                    
Haines  dealt with  misdemeanor cases  and sometimes  had to                                                                    
put  on their  prosecutor  hats. The  police department  was                                                                    
supported  by  the  district attorney's  office  for  larger                                                                    
issues.  If  an  individual  was   seen  in  court  from  an                                                                    
arraignment  on a  serious charge  and they  were unable  to                                                                    
make bond or bail, the  Haines Police Department would get a                                                                    
transport  request  order  and,   the  individual  would  be                                                                    
transported to the Lemon Creek Facility in Juneau.                                                                              
Co-Chair Wilson  asked if  the individual  would be  held in                                                                    
Haines until  their transfer. She  wondered if Haines  had a                                                                    
community  jail. Chief  Scott  responded that  Haines had  a                                                                    
rural jail facility,  1 of 15 in the state.  He believed the                                                                    
facility was classified to hold  people up to 14 days. After                                                                    
14 days,  the department  had to transfer  them to  a larger                                                                    
jail  facility.  The  department  often  stretched  out  the                                                                    
number of days up to 10. It was an intermediate solution.                                                                       
Co-Chair Wilson  asked if  a felony court  case had  to take                                                                    
place in  Juneau or  Haines. She wondered  if a  judge would                                                                    
have  to travel  to Haines.  Chief Scott  responded that  it                                                                    
depended, he  had seen both.  If there  was a case  heard by                                                                    
the  Alaska Supreme  Court that  supplied the  defendant and                                                                    
the defendant's  prosecutor some  measure of  flexibility as                                                                    
to where they wanted the case to be heard.                                                                                      
10:13:18 AM                                                                                                                   
Vice-Chair  Johnston asked  about  his concerns  surrounding                                                                    
the travel  budget for  prosecuting attorneys.  She wondered                                                                    
if interviews  had been conducted  via teleconference  or in                                                                    
Chief  Scott  responded he  had  seen  both. The  department                                                                    
leveraged technology  very heavily  when it came  to support                                                                    
through  the  prosecutor's  office.  Most  cases  in  Haines                                                                    
District Court if a judge was  not present, a judge would be                                                                    
on the  phone. If a  prosecutor was not present,  because of                                                                    
the remote location, they would  be on the phone. Haines had                                                                    
video conferencing  capability. He had  not seen it  used in                                                                    
the 3 years of his tenure.  He had been assured by the court                                                                    
that it  was functioning, and  the equipment was  usable. He                                                                    
had advised  the courts of  his opinion. It was  his opinion                                                                    
that  justice was  not served  appropriately when  the state                                                                    
was committing resources over the  phone. He understood that                                                                    
it was  a means of  doing business, specifically  because of                                                                    
remote locations and lack of  funds throughout the state. He                                                                    
thought it  was important  for a  crime suspect,  when being                                                                    
adjudicated, to feel  the measure of justice,  see the judge                                                                    
hearing the  case, see the  prosecutor, and feel  the burden                                                                    
they  were  under, so  they  did  not engage  in  committing                                                                    
crimes  continuously.  He thought  they  needed  to see  the                                                                    
error of  their ways.  He did  not see  a support  system in                                                                    
rural locations in Alaska,  especially when using technology                                                                    
over the phone.                                                                                                                 
Representative  Josephson referred  to  HB 312  [Legislation                                                                    
passed  in  2018  relating to  crimes,  criminal  procedure,                                                                    
controlled substances, and bail]  restored the authority for                                                                    
judges across  the state to consider  out-of-state offenses.                                                                    
He did  not understand how  things were integrated  into the                                                                    
risk-assessment  score. He  asked  if Chief  Scott had  been                                                                    
before the magistrate as a  proxy for the district attorney,                                                                    
whether the district attorney was  on the phone, and whether                                                                    
out-of-state offenses were brought up.                                                                                          
Chief  Scott responded  in the  affirmative. He  had advised                                                                    
the magistrate  that the tool  was new and  had limitations.                                                                    
Magistrates  had taken  the  limitations into  consideration                                                                    
about  90 percent  of the  time. They  factored in  the tool                                                                    
being  new,   and  the  significance  of   the  individual's                                                                    
Co-Chair  Wilson asked  if Chief  Scott concurred  with what                                                                    
had been reported by the  Juneau Police Department about the                                                                    
same  individuals   reoffending  versus   other  individuals                                                                    
committing crimes.                                                                                                              
Chief  Scott had  seen  larger rates  of  recidivism in  his                                                                    
local  communities.  He  thought  it  had  to  do  with  the                                                                    
reduction in  some of the offenses.  He revisited misconduct                                                                    
involving  a controlled  substance in  the 4th  degree as  a                                                                    
Class A  misdemeanor and  misconduct involving  a controlled                                                                    
substance  in  the 5th  degree  as  a Class  B  misdemeanor.                                                                    
Often,  he had  heard people  say that  they were  getting a                                                                    
free pass  not taking the  issue seriously. He did  not know                                                                    
if it was a message anyone wanted to send to communities.                                                                       
Co-Chair Wilson indicated there  was someone from the Alaska                                                                    
State Troopers  available to testify. Co-Chair  Wilson asked                                                                    
Chief Dutra  if he  concurred with earlier  testimony. Chief                                                                    
Dutra responded in the affirmative.                                                                                             
10:19:49 AM                                                                                                                   
MICHAEL DUXBURY,  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT  OF PUBLIC                                                                    
SAFETY,  introduced himself  and  indicated he  had been  an                                                                    
employee for the department for over 30 years.                                                                                  
Co-Chair  Wilson asked  Mr. Duxbury  to comment  on changes,                                                                    
good and bad, and on  how they have affected troopers across                                                                    
the state. The committee was  trying to find out what issues                                                                    
Mr. Duxbury reported  the department felt that  much of what                                                                    
was in  the governor's crime  package was a  great beginning                                                                    
to addressing the  crime problems in Alaska. He  had been an                                                                    
investigator, supervisor, and  commander of drug enforcement                                                                    
in  the   State  of   Alaska  and   the  Alaska   Bureau  of                                                                    
Investigations.  He agreed  with everything  the chiefs  had                                                                    
presented. He thought  they supplied a snapshot  of what was                                                                    
happening  in  Alaska's  small  communities.  He  wanted  to                                                                    
address the  issue of small individual  locations thought to                                                                    
be  drug  houses.  They  created   a  large  disturbance  in                                                                    
neighborhoods  affecting  quality  of  life  in  Alaska.  He                                                                    
thought many  legislators received complaints on  the issue.                                                                    
Returning to  the previous drug possession  and distribution                                                                    
limits  would be  instrumental in  helping  the troopers  to                                                                    
better control  of the quality  of life issues  happening in                                                                    
Alaska's  neighborhoods. He  also suggested  reinstating the                                                                    
ability  for  troopers  to use  the  discretion  within  the                                                                    
pre-SB 91  system  to  have  a better  impact  on  what  was                                                                    
happening in communities.  After the passage of  SB 91, drug                                                                    
enforcement in Alaska involving  a collaborative effort with                                                                    
federal and  local governments were focusing  on strategical                                                                    
amounts coming  into Alaska's communities. Opioids  and meth                                                                    
presented the largest  drug problems in the  state. He noted                                                                    
that fentanyl was  a problem as well. Although  meth was not                                                                    
being   produced  as   much,   there  was   still  a   large                                                                    
distribution in  the state. Returning to  the possession and                                                                    
distribution  limits  the  state had  before  would  provide                                                                    
discretion  and the  tools to  get  a handle  on the  issues                                                                    
Mr. Duxbury had not been  exposed to the bail schedule tool.                                                                    
However, he  had seen a  certain percentage of  people going                                                                    
through the revolving door; being released and reoffending.                                                                     
10:24:56 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Wilson  explained that one  of the reasons  for the                                                                    
risk tool was to make it  more equitable for people who were                                                                    
unable  to pay.  She  wondered if  there  was a  correlation                                                                    
between people who  were able to pay bail  versus people who                                                                    
were  without resources.  She wondered  about any  available                                                                    
statistics   on   the    two   categories   of   individuals                                                                    
Mr.  Duxbury hesitated  to  weigh in  on  her questions.  He                                                                    
spoke about having  experience within the drug  unit and the                                                                    
Alaska  Bureau  of  Investigations.   Public  safety  was  a                                                                    
concept  with  components  that  helped  to  improve  happy,                                                                    
healthy,  and whole  communities. He  believed that  all the                                                                    
individuals involved  in trying to make  a difference needed                                                                    
to collaborate. He  had not been included  in any discussion                                                                    
about the effects of SB 91.  He conveyed that a small amount                                                                    
of  marijuana  and a  small  amount  of fentanyl  were  very                                                                    
different.  He  thought  collaboration  was  needed  on  all                                                                    
levels  to  facilitate  making  decisions  that  helped  the                                                                    
10:27:39 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair   Wilson  asked   if  there   were  statistics   on                                                                    
recidivism    for   people    awaiting   pre-trial,    under                                                                    
supervision,  or  on  electronic  monitoring.  It  would  be                                                                    
interesting to  find out if  one circumstance  worked better                                                                    
than another.                                                                                                                   
Mr.  Duxbury believed  there was  something put  out by  the                                                                    
University  of Alaska.  Their  perspective about  recidivism                                                                    
rates  was  that  it  had  not changed  much  in  years.  He                                                                    
disagreed,  as police  officers  and troopers  in the  field                                                                    
were seeing people going through  a revolving door. In other                                                                    
words,  individuals  were  being  arrested,  brought  to  an                                                                    
arraignment,  and  within  hours of  arraignment  they  were                                                                    
released back onto the streets.  He indicated that offenders                                                                    
in the  back of police  cars were calculating the  number of                                                                    
hours before  they would be  released. He was unsure  if the                                                                    
revolving door he was talking  about related to recidivism -                                                                    
when  someone  was  convicted, served  their  sentence,  and                                                                    
Co-Chair Wilson  clarified that  recidivism only  applied to                                                                    
someone who  had already been  convicted. She  was referring                                                                    
to someone who had broken the  law and reoffended prior to a                                                                    
Representative LeBon  noted that  harder drugs  were finding                                                                    
their way into  Alaska. He wondered if Mr.  Duxbury knew how                                                                    
drugs were making their way into the state.                                                                                     
Mr. Duxbury  responded that the department  was dealing with                                                                    
drug trafficking organizations  and individuals that brought                                                                    
drugs  directly  across  the   border  into  the  state.  He                                                                    
reported  often dealing  with  people  coming directly  from                                                                    
Mexico to Alaska. Another issue  was that in Alaska a person                                                                    
could make a  greater amount of money on the  same volume of                                                                    
drugs than  in other states.  A significant amount  of money                                                                    
brought  half of  the  normal supply.  He  noted Alaska  was                                                                    
seeing a  lot of money  leaving the state, as  dealing drugs                                                                    
was a  money-making enterprise. It  was also  a misogynistic                                                                    
enterprise  because   it  enslaved   young  women.   It  was                                                                    
devastating  to the  State of  Alaska. He  reported that  in                                                                    
2016 the DEAs drug threat  assessment showed that the number                                                                    
one  driver  of  theft,  burglary, and  property  crime  was                                                                    
heroin. The number two driver  was methamphetamines. He also                                                                    
cited that  the number one driver  of person-on-person crime                                                                    
was methamphetamine,  and the number two  driver was heroin.                                                                    
Both drugs  were prevalent  in Alaska.  He reported  that in                                                                    
the department's drug seizures he  usually found 5 times the                                                                    
number  of methamphetamines  than  heroin.  Both drugs  were                                                                    
devastating the state.                                                                                                          
10:32:16 AM                                                                                                                   
Vice-Chair Johnston  asked about the impact  of black heroin                                                                    
on the state.  Mr. Duxbury responded that he  saw both black                                                                    
(tar) and brown heroin. He  claimed that about 99 percent of                                                                    
what he saw  coming into Alaska came across  the border from                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Johnston asked  about  fentanyl  in Alaska.  Mr.                                                                    
Duxbury  responded that  the drug  was  primarily coming  in                                                                    
from China.                                                                                                                     
Vice-Chair Johnston  asked if drugs  were coming in  via the                                                                    
airports.  Mr. Duxbury  responded that  it was  easy to  say                                                                    
that  Alaska  was a  five  border  state.  Some came  in  by                                                                    
shipment vessels,  package, and postal  via air. He  did not                                                                    
see many  drugs coming in  by the road system.  The airports                                                                    
were major conduits for distribution of drugs in Alaska.                                                                        
Vice-Chair  Johnston  was  glad  to hear  that  Mr.  Duxbury                                                                    
thought  all parties  should be  working collaboratively  on                                                                    
the  issue of  crime.  As part  of  the administration,  she                                                                    
asked if  conversations were  ensuing amongst  the different                                                                    
entities within the system.                                                                                                     
Mr. Duxbury  responded that prosecutors were  very important                                                                    
because the general crime rate  had increased. He thought it                                                                    
would  be appropriate  to have  more  state prosecutors.  He                                                                    
noted that in 2017 the  troopers embarked on a collaborative                                                                    
effort  with the  Department of  Health and  Social Services                                                                    
(DHSS)  in such  a way  that, where  ever they  went in  the                                                                    
United States,  other people were taking  notes. He supplied                                                                    
examples of collaborative efforts  between the Department of                                                                    
Public Safety and DHSS and noted their success.                                                                                 
Co-Chair  Wilson thought  the  answer was,  "No." She  asked                                                                    
when the last time was that  all the parties got together to                                                                    
collaborate. Mr. Duxbury responded  in the negative from his                                                                    
perspective.   The   current    presentation   and   similar                                                                    
presentations were helpful.                                                                                                     
Vice-Chair Johnston was anxiously  awaiting to hear from the                                                                    
governor's  office.  She  was  doing  a  shout  out  to  the                                                                    
administration  to encourage  the departments  to have  some                                                                    
robust discussions on the topic.                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilson commented  that if  the department  was not                                                                    
having  a  discussion  with  all  the  parties  to  fix  the                                                                    
problem, it  would be difficult  for the legislature  to get                                                                    
tough  on crime.  She brought  up the  point that  currently                                                                    
there  were several  unsentenced  individuals. She  wondered                                                                    
about  fixing the  system, not  just  adding more  stringent                                                                    
Mr. Duxbury  understood that  there were  several components                                                                    
trying  to come  together  including  systems, funding,  and                                                                    
leadership within the administration.  It was the reason the                                                                    
crime  package was  introduced.  The  governor's office  had                                                                    
created a position for someone  to try to coordinate all the                                                                    
parts. He was  at a supervisor level and  knew the realities                                                                    
and inertia created  by everyone putting their  head down to                                                                    
work a  job was not  always as wide scoped  and encompassing                                                                    
as  desired.  He  thought the  new  commissioner  brought  a                                                                    
different  perspective  to   the  department  including  the                                                                    
notion  of victim  advocacy which  helped  bring change  the                                                                    
department's ability  to look at  how it  provided services.                                                                    
He thought  it was  going on throughout  the administration.                                                                    
He was hopeful about being  collaborative for the benefit of                                                                    
Co-Chair   Wilson  expressed   her  disappointment   in  the                                                                    
entities working as a system.                                                                                                   
10:41:17 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative Josephson pointed out  that one of the things                                                                    
that concerned  him about SB  91 was the movement  towards a                                                                    
Class C felony on drug  possession. It was his understanding                                                                    
that an individual  who was a recreational  cocaine user was                                                                    
committing a  Class A misdemeanor. It  used to be a  Class C                                                                    
felony  and  the governor  would  return  it  to a  Class  C                                                                    
felony. He had  a certain state of  alarm about recreational                                                                    
cocaine use. He  was five times more alarmed  at the thought                                                                    
of  recreational heroin  use. He  did not  believe a  person                                                                    
could recreationally  dabble with heroin  without developing                                                                    
a problem. He understood how going  back to a Class C felony                                                                    
might  force  someone into  treatment  but,  he wondered  if                                                                    
Alaska had the bed space.  He wondered if the administration                                                                    
was committed  to investing  in bed space  to help  with the                                                                    
healthcare crisis.                                                                                                              
Mr.  Duxbury  replied  that   most  of  what  Representative                                                                    
Josephson  asked   was  beyond   his  scope.  He   had  been                                                                    
collaborating   with  DHSS   traveling  with   them  to   19                                                                    
communities working  on special projects. He  was aware that                                                                    
it was  one of  the impetuses DHSS  was putting  forward. He                                                                    
went back  to the  term "recreational."  He opined  that the                                                                    
average person  in Alaska  did not  believe that  hard drugs                                                                    
could be  played with recreationally. The  average person in                                                                    
the room  knew that  hard drugs had  terrible ramifications.                                                                    
He agreed beds  were a problem, but it was  not something he                                                                    
could properly address.                                                                                                         
Co-Chair  Wilson invited  Representative Josephson  to bring                                                                    
his question  back to the  committee the following  day when                                                                    
the committee would hear from DHSS.                                                                                             
Representative  Merrick  noted  Mr. Duxbury's  remarks  that                                                                    
drug operations were money-making  machines and that Alaskan                                                                    
females had  fallen victim  to some  of the  operations. She                                                                    
wondered  if he  was talking  about local  females who  were                                                                    
becoming drug addicts and falling  into a trap or whether he                                                                    
was  talking about  sex trafficking  being brought  into the                                                                    
Mr.  Duxbury appreciated  her question,  as it  provided him                                                                    
the opportunity  to discuss sex  crime bills that  were part                                                                    
of  the  governor's  crime  package.   He  had  seen  people                                                                    
enslaved by their  addiction then taken advantage  of by the                                                                    
people working  an operation.  He had  also seen  people get                                                                    
revictimized because of their  offenders getting out. It had                                                                    
created a  road block for  some women  to want to  trust the                                                                    
troopers and  supply information to take  down an operation.                                                                    
He noted  6-9 women bringing  drugs into the state  and them                                                                    
being treated as "suitcases."                                                                                                   
Representative Sullivan-Leonard  was aware the  governor was                                                                    
working on  a crime  package to address  many of  the issues                                                                    
that had been discussed in  the current meeting. She thought                                                                    
it was disingenuous to have  a discussion that suggested the                                                                    
governor and his administration  had not been addressing the                                                                    
various issues around  crime. She was aware  of the governor                                                                    
working   collaboratively  with   various  departments   and                                                                    
divisions  to  address  many   issues  concerning  crime  in                                                                    
Alaska. She  suggested there were  several crime  bills that                                                                    
were sitting in Judiciary that had not been heard.                                                                              
10:47:29 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
10:48:14 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Wilson recessed  the meeting  to the  Call of  the                                                                    
10:48:29 AM                                                                                                                   
1:02:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Wilson asked Mr. Duxbury  to approach the testifier                                                                    
table. She provided a recap  of where the committee left off                                                                    
prior to the  recess. She invited members to  ask the Alaska                                                                    
State Troopers questions.                                                                                                       
Representative Josephson  commented that  he had not  sat in                                                                    
on  a Criminal  Justice Commission  meeting. However,  there                                                                    
was a plethora of folks  appointed to the commission. One of                                                                    
the concerns  he had  was that they  did not  have rank-and-                                                                    
file  prosecutors there.  He wondered  about the  sharing of                                                                    
information.   He  supplied   an  example   of  sharing   of                                                                    
information.  He wondered  if  employees  were reporting  to                                                                    
their supervisors  and having their suggestions  rise to the                                                                    
top translating into policy.                                                                                                    
Co-Chair   Wilson   relayed   that  the   Criminal   Justice                                                                    
Commission  would be  coming before  the committee  later in                                                                    
the week. They would  provide information and statistics. It                                                                    
would  be  a  time  for   legislators  to  be  able  to  ask                                                                    
questions.  She indicated  that  part of  SB  91 included  a                                                                    
group getting together on a  regular basis. She would supply                                                                    
the committee with the group's most recent report.                                                                              
1:05:37 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Johnston had been talking  with Mr. Duxbury about                                                                    
working with  DHSS during the  break. She hoped he  would be                                                                    
willing to  place on record  the collaborative  efforts with                                                                    
DHSS. Mr. Duxbury clarified that  he did not know everything                                                                    
state government  was doing to be  collaborative. He thought                                                                    
Representative Josephson made a very  good point that in the                                                                    
Criminal Justice Commission  things had been worked  on in a                                                                    
collaborative manner.  The governor's  crime package  was an                                                                    
inducement  for  his  commissioner   to  reach  out  to  the                                                                    
commissioners of DHSS, DOA, and  others. The governor's bill                                                                    
covered things that the departments  were looking to do. His                                                                    
commissioner, Amanda Price, reached  out to the commissioner                                                                    
of  DHSS, Adam  Crum, to  address issues  about how  to help                                                                    
individuals and  communities. He  reported hearing  from one                                                                    
of  the troopers  in his  department  about a  suicide in  a                                                                    
village and  how reports  had come  in about  the contagious                                                                    
message of  having no hope,  no dreams,  and no place  to go                                                                    
being spread  on social media.  The commissioners  put their                                                                    
heads  together  and, the  troopers  were  sent out  to  the                                                                    
village. Currently  the commissioners were talking.  He felt                                                                    
that  the departments  were about  to take  off on  positive                                                                    
Vice-Chair Johnston believed the  Alaska State Troopers were                                                                    
hiring several younger employees  presently. She wondered if                                                                    
there was  a culture  starting amongst the  younger troopers                                                                    
around  collaboration and  looking to  solutions other  than                                                                    
the traditional ones.                                                                                                           
Mr. Duxbury  replied that he  had had the  conversation with                                                                    
Representative Carpenter.  He indicated that in  the first 5                                                                    
years of  a young  state trooper's  tenure, they  focused on                                                                    
what they  could do as  an individual. After  being mentored                                                                    
through  the  process with  an  older  employee, their  work                                                                    
became more  about what they  could do  as a unit.  He noted                                                                    
that the  younger generation  came with  the ability  to use                                                                    
electronics in  a way  that he was  unfamiliar with  when he                                                                    
first joined the troopers.                                                                                                      
1:10:51 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Sullivan-Leonard  relayed   that  crime  and                                                                    
sexual assault were  up in her district. She  asked what the                                                                    
new troopers  were doing to  help with the issues,  how drug                                                                    
use and  sexual assault were  being addressed in  the Mat-Su                                                                    
Valley.  Mr.  Duxbury relayed  that  the  Division of  State                                                                    
Troopers  had 18  individuals being  trained at  the trooper                                                                    
academy currently. It  was necessary for the  trainees to be                                                                    
placed in  locations where there  were resources  to provide                                                                    
them with  field training. He  referred to the  locations as                                                                    
training  posts  which  were   in  the  Mat-Su  Valley,  the                                                                    
Fairbanks  area,  and  on the  Kenai  Peninsula.  They  were                                                                    
evaluated by three people and,  after 2 years, they would be                                                                    
eligible for transfer to a rural post.                                                                                          
Mr.   Duxbury   continued   that    in   response   to   the                                                                    
representative's  questions about  sexual  assault and  drug                                                                    
abuse units, the department  had general investigative units                                                                    
(GIU)  in  each post.  It  was  a  different than  what  the                                                                    
troopers had in  the past. It was an evolving  way to try to                                                                    
respond to  the issues  of major crimes.  He thought  it was                                                                    
necessary  for people  to develop  the reasonable  suspicion                                                                    
and probable  cause mind set  from the first time  a trooper                                                                    
made  a traffic  stop  to a  domestic  violence incident  or                                                                    
burglary.  The department  also  had  individuals that  were                                                                    
able  to take  a  more in-depth  look at  some  of the  more                                                                    
egregious  and hard-to-discern  crimes  so that  it was  not                                                                    
taking  a  responsive  trooper off  the  road.  The  general                                                                    
investigative units tried to come  together under the Alaska                                                                    
Bureau  of  Investigation  (ABI)  model  when  there  was  a                                                                    
Western Alaska  incident or a  major homicide case.  In past                                                                    
years,  the  state had  a  larger  pool  of troopers.  As  a                                                                    
result,  the  troopers  have  had   to  modify  the  way  it                                                                    
Co-Chair Wilson  asked Mr. Duxbury to  supply the statistics                                                                    
that Representative Sullivan-Leonard  requested. Mr. Duxbury                                                                    
would  provide   a  written  statement  in   answer  to  her                                                                    
question. Co-Chair  Wilson requested 3 years'  worth of data                                                                    
to be able to make a comparison.                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilson  relayed  the   agenda  for  the  following                                                                    
meeting at 1:30 P.M.                                                                                                            
1:15:53 PM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 1:15 p.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 25 NEW FN DCCED DCBPL 4.22.19.pdf HFIN 4/23/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 25
SB 25 updated FY19-3rd-Qtr-Dental.pdf HFIN 4/23/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 25
HB 41 NEW FN DFG Statewide Fisheries.pdf HFIN 4/23/2019 9:00:00 AM
HB 41