Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

03/21/2017 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to 5:30 pm Today --
*+ HB 94 AF AMER SOLDIERS CONT TO BUILD AK HWY DAY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= SB 46 OCT 25: AFR-AMER SOLDIERS AK HWY DAY TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 46 Out of Committee
*+ HB 163 DPS LAW ENFORCE. SVCS: AGREEMENTS/FEES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 1 ELECTION REGISTRATION AND VOTING TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 1(STA) Out of Committee
                                                                                                                                
         HB 163-DPS LAW ENFORCE. SVCS: AGREEMENTS/FEES                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:08:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that  the next order  of business                                                               
would be HOUSE  BILL NO. 163, "An Act  authorizing the Department                                                               
of  Public  Safety  to  enter   into  agreements  with  nonprofit                                                               
regional corporations  and federal, tribal, and  local government                                                               
agencies  to provide  law enforcement  services; authorizing  the                                                               
Department  of Public  Safety  to collect  fees  for certain  law                                                               
enforcement services; and providing for an effective date."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:09:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL JAMES  COCKRELL, Director,  Alaska State  Troopers (AST),                                                               
Department of Public Safety (DPS),  presented HB 163 on behalf of                                                               
the House  Rules Standing Committee,  sponsor, by request  of the                                                               
governor.    He stated  that  through  the  years, AST  has  been                                                               
impacted by the  boom and bust of the economy  and has looked for                                                               
ways to provide  professional services to underserved  areas.  He                                                               
said that recently the communities  of Nikiski and Big Lake asked                                                               
if they could  "contract out" with AST.  He  mentioned that AST's                                                               
"battle" with the Municipality of  Anchorage is what prompted AST                                                               
to  take   "ownership"  of  areas  inside   the  Municipality  of                                                               
Anchorage and Girdwood.  He  relayed that DPS offered a potential                                                               
contract to  the community of  Girdwood.  He asserted  that since                                                               
payments under  such a  contract would  be made  to the  State of                                                               
Alaska  and not  AST, such  an arrangement  would not  help AST's                                                               
budget or accomplish  what was needed - keeping  troopers "on the                                                               
road" or providing services to  Girdwood.  Girdwood chose another                                                               
option,   which  was   contracting  with   the  Whittier   Police                                                               
Department.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL COCKRELL provided  a summary and a  sectional analysis of                                                               
HB 163, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Summary:  This bill  allows  the  Department of  Public                                                                    
     Safety   to  enter   into  agreements   with  nonprofit                                                                    
     regional  corporations   and  government   agencies  to                                                                    
     provide  law   enforcement  services  and   to  collect                                                                    
     reasonable  fees  for   the  law  enforcement  services                                                                    
     provides. It provides  the Department receipt authority                                                                    
     for  the funds  collected and  limits applicability  to                                                                    
     entities  that do  not have  a police  force of  public                                                                    
     safety coverage as of the effective date of the Act.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Section  1:  Amends  37.05.146  (c)  by  adding  a  new                                                                    
     subsection: (90)  fees collected  by the  Department of                                                                    
     Public  Safety for  law enforcement  services under  AS                                                                    
     44.41.020 (g)                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section  2:  Amends  AS  44.41.020   by  adding  a  new                                                                    
     subsection  (g); this  additional subsection  gives the                                                                    
     Department the authority to  enter into agreements with                                                                    
     nonprofit  regional corporations,  or federal,  tribal,                                                                    
     or local governments and to  collect reasonable fees to                                                                    
     cover the costs of providing services;                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section 3:  Amends the uncodified  law by adding  a new                                                                    
     section that  limits the applicability of  AS 44.41.020                                                                    
     (g)  to  nonprofit  regional corporations  or  federal,                                                                    
     tribal, and local government agencies  that do not have                                                                    
     an organized  police force or contracted  public safety                                                                    
     coverage as of the effective date of the Act.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section 4:  Provides for  an effective  day of  July 1,                                                                    
     2017.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:13:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  asked  why the  proposed  legislation  is                                                               
limited to areas without an  organized police force or contracted                                                               
public safety  agreements as  of the effective  date of  the Act.                                                               
She  suggested  that after  the  effective  date  of the  Act,  a                                                               
community might  be in the same  situation as was Girdwood.   She                                                               
mentioned as an  example the unincorporated area  of Chiniak near                                                               
Kodiak.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL COCKRELL  responded that in  the situation of  Kodiak and                                                               
Chiniak,  the proposed  legislation would  allow DPS  to contract                                                               
with a government entity or  the Kodiak Island Borough to provide                                                               
police services  to Chiniak to  augment the services that  DPS is                                                               
currently providing to Kodiak.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  relayed  that  Girdwood is  part  of  the                                                               
Municipality of Anchorage.   She said that if a  community was in                                                               
a  situation  exactly  like  the   Girdwood  situation,  and  the                                                               
situation  occurred after  the effective  date of  the act,  then                                                               
there  would be  an organized  police force  for that  community.                                                               
She asked why  the proposed legislation is not  written such that                                                               
the  Department  of  Public  Safety (DPS)  could  enter  into  an                                                               
agreement with such a community.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL COCKRELL  replied that Girdwood  has contracted  with the                                                               
Whittier  Police  Department  instead  of  the  Anchorage  Police                                                               
Department.   He stated that the  fear is that those  cities with                                                               
bigger  police departments,  such  as Bethel  or Kotzebue,  would                                                               
decide to  no longer  have police departments,  and the  State of                                                               
Alaska then  would be responsible  [for public safety].   He said                                                               
DPS does  not want  to take  on that responsibility  or to  be in                                                               
competition with  established local police departments.   He said                                                               
the  people   of  Girdwood  have   chosen  the   Whittier  Police                                                               
Department  and he  does  not  know if  DPS  could contract  with                                                               
Girdwood under the proposed legislation.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX referred to  the North Slope Borough (NSB),                                                               
which includes  the City of Barrow  and the outlying areas.   She                                                               
said that if  the NSB Police Department does not  wish to provide                                                               
services to  the outlying areas,  then she does not  see anything                                                               
wrong with Barrow paying for AST to provide services.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:17:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL COCKRELL responded that the intent  of HB 163 is to allow                                                               
areas with  limited police protection  to pay for AST  to augment                                                               
the  coverage it  already  provides to  the area.    He gave  the                                                               
example of Soldotna  and Nikiski:  AST has a  substantial post in                                                               
Soldotna, but  there are still  not enough troopers to  cover the                                                               
area.   Nikiski  wanted to  contract [with  DPS] for  troopers to                                                               
augment  what is  being provided  by the  post in  Soldotna.   He                                                               
suggested  that in  the Yukon-Kuskokwim  Delta, several  villages                                                               
might  wish to  contract for  extra trooper  coverage to  augment                                                               
what  the  Bethel  troopers  are  providing  to  the  area.    He                                                               
reiterated that  AST does not  want to compete with  the boroughs                                                               
or municipalities for providing police services.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX mentioned  that  in the  Hillside area  of                                                               
Anchorage, the coverage  is relatively sparse.   She offered that                                                               
if Hillside,  through a non-profit  corporation, decided  that it                                                               
wanted to contract  for more trooper service, why  not allow that                                                               
option?                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL  COCKRELL answered  that  he thought  that  DPS would  be                                                               
flexible in adopting that type of  approach as long as it had the                                                               
flexibility to  say "no."  He  stated that DPS's fear  is that it                                                               
would be forced  to enter into a contractual  arrangement with an                                                               
area.   He asserted that  the intent of the  proposed legislation                                                               
is to  help the  smaller communities that  have very  limited law                                                               
enforcement  resources.   He  added  that  he believes  the  more                                                               
flexibility DPS has, the better off it  is.  He said that this is                                                               
an experiment -  something which hasn't been done in  Alaska.  He                                                               
offered  that  the  Royal Canadian  Mounted  Police  ("Mounties")                                                               
provide police for Whitehorse and several of the territories.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  offered  that  the  proposed  legislation                                                               
would  not  give  DPS  the   flexibility  it  wants,  because  it                                                               
precludes  contracts  with  any  entity  in  which  there  is  an                                                               
organized police force.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL COCKRELL  replied that  DPS would be  open to  looking at                                                               
changing  the language  in the  proposed  legislation to  address                                                               
Representative LeDoux's concern.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:20:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH   asked  what   the  mission  was   of  DPS                                                               
geographically and  objectively with  respect to the  services it                                                               
delivers.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL  COCKRELL  responded  that  AST  has  enforcement  powers                                                               
throughout  the state  including  municipalities.   It has  posts                                                               
from  Prince  of  Wales  Island  to the  most  northern  post  of                                                               
Kotzebue.   He  said that  DPS has  statewide authority  over all                                                               
"search and  rescues" in  the state, which  average over  500 per                                                               
year.    It  provides  special   investigative  services  to  the                                                               
Anchorage   Police  Department   (APD)   and   all  the   smaller                                                               
departments.   It is the  only statewide drug  enforcement agency                                                               
in the  state.  He added  that the wildlife troopers  enforce all                                                               
the fish and game  laws in the state.  He  offered that its scope                                                               
and mission are endless considering its responsibilities.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH gave as an  example the Fairbanks North Star                                                               
Borough  (FNSB),  which  includes  about 100,000  people  in  the                                                               
borough, 30,000 in  Fairbanks, and a few thousand  in North Pole.                                                               
He asked  if DPS provides  law enforcement outside  the corporate                                                               
city limits of North Pole and Fairbanks but within the borough.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL COCKRELL replied, "Correct."   He added that AST provides                                                               
services for more residents than  do the Fairbanks and North Pole                                                               
police  departments.   He  mentioned  that the  Matanuska-Susitna                                                               
("Mat-Su")  Valley has  two police  departments,  but AST  serves                                                               
over  85,000  residents  of  the Mat-Su  Valley  with  34  patrol                                                               
troopers.   He said that in  the Kenai Peninsula, there  are city                                                               
police  departments in  Homer, Kenai,  Soldotna, and  Seward, but                                                               
these departments  have minimal "footprints" on  the entire Kenai                                                               
Peninsula.  He  asserted that AST covers much  more territory and                                                               
residents than the city [police departments] combined.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  stated that  Girdwood  is  outside of  the                                                               
construct of the  APD, "so it basically is no  different than the                                                               
greater  FNSB."   He  said  his  expectation  is that  AST  would                                                               
provide services  to those areas  in the greater  Municipality of                                                               
Anchorage that are outside the police service area.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL COCKRELL responded that it  has been the state's position                                                               
that  all the  areas  within the  Municipality  of Anchorage  are                                                               
under the APD, not AST.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:24:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  asked if AST  still has  officers stationed                                                               
in Fort Yukon or Holy Cross.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL COCKRELL  answered no.   He said  that officers  have not                                                               
been stationed  in Holy Cross for  the last 20 years  and in Fort                                                               
Yukon, not since 1987.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  stated  that the  committee  learned  that                                                               
there  are  76  funded  Village   Public  Safety  Officer  (VPSO)                                                               
positions and  52 filled.   He said  that they also  learned that                                                               
the money  not spent on the  unfilled positions does not  go back                                                               
to the state,  but is kept by  the contractors.  He  asked if AST                                                               
has an opportunity to compete for those contracted positions.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL  COCKRELL said  that  AST depends  greatly  on the  VPSOs                                                               
across the state.  He mentioned  that they struggle with the same                                                               
challenges as  does AST  - recruitment and  retention.   He added                                                               
that their turnover rate is  about thirty-three percent annually.                                                               
He stated  that they live  in very  difficult areas of  the state                                                               
regarding   lack  of   infrastructure,   housing,  offices,   and                                                               
plumbing.    He added  that  sometimes  they must  perform  court                                                               
arraignments over the  telephone, because there is  a prisoner in                                                               
the other  holding cell.   He asserted  that VPSOs are  the "eyes                                                               
and ears" of AST  when the troopers go to the  villages.  He said                                                               
that  the  VPSOs  certainly  suffer  when  there  are  that  many                                                               
vacancies, especially  in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta,  where there                                                               
are  11 vacancies  out 15  or  18 positions.   He  said that  the                                                               
proposed legislation  is not designed to  create competition with                                                               
the  VPSO program.   He  added that  the hope  is that  AST would                                                               
augment  the VPSO  program.   Studies show  that communities  are                                                               
safer with  either a  VPSO in the  village or both  a VPSO  and a                                                               
state trooper in the village.   He cited Emmonak, Hooper Bay, and                                                               
Togiak as  communities with  both VPSOs and  troopers.   He added                                                               
that the  villages in  Western Alaska  are struggling  with crime                                                               
and sexual assaults.  He said  that his focus has been to provide                                                               
more  troopers  to Western  Alaska,  but  in accomplishing  that,                                                               
troopers were taken out of the urban areas.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:28:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KNOPP  mentioned that  Title  29  [of the  Alaska                                                               
Statutes]  controls  the powers  granted  to  the boroughs.    He                                                               
stated that as  a second-class borough, Nikiski did  not create a                                                               
law enforcement  service area or  adopt police powers.   He asked                                                               
if Nikiski  would have had  to vote  to create a  law enforcement                                                               
service area for DPS to contract with the city.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KNOPP offered  that  a non-profit  [organization]                                                               
has no  authority outside of what  it owns, so he  didn't see how                                                               
it  could  contract  for law  enforcement  services  without  the                                                               
people voting for  "that power."  He asked if  the residents of a                                                               
rural  community with  a  non-profit  regional corporation  would                                                               
have  to vote  on the  service  area before  contracting out  for                                                               
police services and if that would  be an issue with the governing                                                               
body of the community.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL COCKRELL, in  answer to the first  question, replied that                                                               
his  understanding is  that in  the  '90s, Nikiski  voted to  tax                                                               
themselves for police services and then  voted again in 2013.  He                                                               
added  that Nikiski  was in  close contact  with DPS  during that                                                               
time.    He  said  that  the  answer  to  Representative  Knopp's                                                               
question was  yes, Nikiski would  have to vote to  tax themselves                                                               
and  the Kenai  Peninsula Borough  (KPB) would  pay the  troopers                                                               
[through a contract with DPS]  to provide services to augment the                                                               
services  out  of Soldotna.    He  said  that his  greatest  fear                                                               
regarding HB  163 is a scenario  in which Nikiski asked  for five                                                               
state troopers under  a contract costing possibly  $1 million and                                                               
the next administration  or legislature would cut  the AST budget                                                               
by $1 million or by five  positions.  He asserted that the intent                                                               
of the proposed  legislation is for AST to  improve services, not                                                               
break even or even earn money.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL COCKRELL,  in answer  to the  second question,  said that                                                               
the non-profit regional corporations own  swaths of land in rural                                                               
Alaska  and,  except for  Northwest  Arctic  Borough (NAB),  they                                                               
manage the  VPSO programs.  He  said they could apply  for grants                                                               
to hire troopers to provide services to the villages.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:32:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP commented  that the VPSO program  has been a                                                               
large source of controversy in the  budget process this year.  He                                                               
said  that  in compensating  the  regional  corporations for  the                                                               
VPSOs, two concerns  have come forward:  the money  was not being                                                               
used for  its intended  purpose, and  the VPSOs  do not  have the                                                               
same training as the police officers  who attend the academy.  He                                                               
asked if there  is a possibility that someday  DPS would contract                                                               
with the  regional corporations and  provide them with  VPSOs who                                                               
are  employees of  DPS,  and  VPSOs would  be  provided the  same                                                               
training and authority as is provided to state troopers.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL  COCKRELL  answered  that  he   felt  that  some  of  the                                                               
testimony  related  to VPSOs  during  a  House Finance  Committee                                                               
meeting  had been  disrespectful of  the VPSO  program.   He said                                                               
that not one  dollar of the funds spent on  the VPSO program goes                                                               
to anything but  salaries, benefits, and support  of the program.                                                               
He said that DPS interacts  with nine entities, eight non-profits                                                               
and NAB, in areas that are  like "third world."  He asserted that                                                               
DPS  provides for  some  very basic  provisions,  such as  phone,                                                               
water,  electricity, building  a  jail cell,  and a  side-by-side                                                               
[vehicle]  for safe  arrests.    He stated,  "There  are so  many                                                               
things that  they are  lacking, and  when we  do have  some extra                                                               
money,  there's  nothing  out  there  that  doesn't  go  to  that                                                               
program."   He added  that the  money stays  in rural  Alaska and                                                               
does not go  to Anchorage or any  other place.  He  said that DPS                                                               
has a  record for  every item  purchased with  the funds,  and he                                                               
oversees the purchases.   He offered that the  testimony he heard                                                               
[in  the previously  mentioned House  Finance Committee  meeting]                                                               
was disheartening,  and perhaps he  needs to  do a better  job of                                                               
providing information about the VPSO program.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL  COCKRELL  responded   to  Representative  Knopp's  other                                                               
comment  by saying  that DPS  is working  with the  regional non-                                                               
profits,  or contractors,  to explore  the idea  of making  VPSOs                                                               
state employees  under AST.   He  said he  believes the  idea has                                                               
merit and  cited the difficulty  [currently] of  interacting with                                                               
eight  different  agencies  with  their own  bureaucracies.    He                                                               
stated  that  there are  many  positives  to making  VPSOs  state                                                               
employees.  He offered that doing  so would not cost DPS any more                                                               
money, since it pays indirect money  to the contractors.  He said                                                               
he believes that doing so would  be a step in the right direction                                                               
and would  help them be  better aligned with the  state troopers.                                                               
He  asserted that  AST has  oversight only  over the  contractor-                                                               
operated VPSO programs  and is often held  responsible for things                                                               
over which  it has  no control.   He said that  if DPS  owned the                                                               
program  completely,  then it  could  be  held responsible.    He                                                               
mentioned  that  interacting  directly   with  the  tribes  would                                                               
generate more trust and ownership in the program.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:38:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL asked  if the  legislation  was proposed  to                                                               
address the "Girdwood situation" or a "rural situation" or both.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL COCKRELL replied that the  Girdwood situation "brought it                                                               
to  the  forefront."    He  said  the  proposed  legislation  was                                                               
intended for  areas outside  of AST's normal  focus of  patrol to                                                               
augment what is  already being done in the areas.   He said there                                                               
is the  potential for  [contracted agreements  with DPS  under HB
163] to be  utilized in rural Alaska.   He said that  he does not                                                               
know if  HB 163 will result  in contracts.  He  commented that he                                                               
believes there  is interest in  contracting with DPS, and  HB 163                                                               
would allow  the flexibility to  enter into contracts  to improve                                                               
services.   He said that  he has a  fear that only  the wealthier                                                               
communities would be able to  afford such contracts, and DPS does                                                               
not  want to  get into  a situation  where it  is providing  more                                                               
services  to the  wealthier  areas.   He stated  that  he is  not                                                               
opposed  to offering  this opportunity  to rural  areas, but  DPS                                                               
does not  want to compete  with cities such as  Bethel, Kotzebue,                                                               
or Nome.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:41:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL asked  if using  troopers  for the  contract                                                               
work proposed  under HB 163  would create a shortage  of troopers                                                               
within AST.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL  COCKRELL  said that  the  intent  is  not to  take  from                                                               
trooper  positions  but to  bring  on  additional troopers  under                                                               
contracts.   He recommended  that a contract  be approved  for no                                                               
less than five  years.  He added that if  the contract ended, AST                                                               
always has enough  trooper vacancies to hire the  trooper or have                                                               
him/her  work under  another  contract.   He  said  AST also  has                                                               
explored  using   retired  state  troopers  or   law  enforcement                                                               
officers  hired into  non-permanent ("non-perm")  positions.   He                                                               
said  that AST  is looking  at  different options,  and he  can't                                                               
answer  that question  definitively at  this time  until more  is                                                               
known  regarding what  will be  needed.   He reiterated  that the                                                               
goal is to provide more state troopers in Alaska.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL said  that  in the  Girdwood situation,  the                                                               
town was going to lose a trooper due to lack of funding.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL COCKRELL  clarified that  there were five  state troopers                                                               
assigned to Girdwood,  and the Kenai Peninsula lost  six or seven                                                               
trooper  positions at  that  time.   He  said  that  he made  the                                                               
decision to  close the  Girdwood station  and move  the positions                                                               
back to the Kenai Peninsula,  because having two troopers for the                                                               
entire Kenai Peninsula on the "grave" shift was unacceptable.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  concluded that there was  not enough funding                                                               
for troopers  to be permanently  stationed in Girdwood,  and they                                                               
were redistributed.   He  offered that  when troopers  are pulled                                                               
out  of a  community,  some  communities may  be  able to  afford                                                               
contracting for  troopers and some  may not.   He asked  if rural                                                               
communities could share a contract for a trooper.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL  COCKRELL  responded  that  he  believes  that  potential                                                               
exists, especially in the Yukon-Kuskokwim  Delta, or in the areas                                                               
surrounding Kotzebue  or Nome.   He mentioned that,  for example,                                                               
three villages  in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta  could contract with                                                               
a  trooper  to  extend  the   coverage  provided  by  the  Bethel                                                               
troopers.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:46:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON stated that  she appreciates the intent of                                                               
HB 163 to fill  a need for troopers.  She gave  as an example the                                                               
Matanuska-Susitna  Borough, which  does not  have police  powers,                                                               
and asked who would oversee the contracted trooper.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL COCKRELL  said that in  the Mat-Su Borough,  the troopers                                                               
serve over 85,000 people.  He  said that if Big Lake decides that                                                               
it needs  more coverage than  it currently gets from  Mat-Su West                                                               
and  contracts with  four troopers,  then AST  would oversee  the                                                               
troopers, and  possibly a community  board would  coordinate with                                                               
the  AST detachment  commander to  ensure the  troopers meet  the                                                               
goals of  the contract.   He added  that the primary  patrol area                                                               
would  be Big  Lake; however,  AST  would allow  that trooper  to                                                               
respond  out  of  the  Big   Lake  area  if  backup  were  needed                                                               
elsewhere.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON asked  if  the  contracting agency  would                                                               
have  to  be a  governmental  agency  or  an entity  with  police                                                               
powers.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL  COCKRELL  answered  that  as  HB  163  is  written,  the                                                               
contracting  agency would  have to  be a  government agency.   He                                                               
said  that in  the Mat-Su  Borough scenario,  DPS would  contract                                                               
with Mat-Su Borough and the  borough would collect taxes from Big                                                               
Lake to  cover the cost.   He said that  in the case  of Houston,                                                               
which currently  does not  have a  police department,  either the                                                               
City of Houston  or the Mat-Su Borough could  contract with [DPS]                                                               
for troopers  using Houston's  funds.   He added  that HB  163 is                                                               
designed for towns such as Houston or Willow.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:51:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  referred to two problems  brought forward                                                               
in  a  House floor  discussion  regarding  VPSOs:     not  enough                                                               
trained VPSOs or  people willing to take the  VPSO positions; and                                                               
[because  positions  were  unfilled]   the  money  going  to  the                                                               
villages  for VPSOs  could not  be used  for that  purpose.   She                                                               
asked if that money could be used to fund a trooper position.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL COCKRELL said that AST could  not use VPSO grant money to                                                               
fund an Alaska State Trooper.   He speculated that AST would have                                                               
to  get the  Office of  Management  & Budget  (OMB) and  possibly                                                               
legislative  approval to  use the  money in  that way,  as it  is                                                               
strictly for  the VPSO program.   He  mentioned that there  are a                                                               
few trooper positions  that are funded through  the VPSO program,                                                               
but he said  he didn't believe he  could use the money  to hire a                                                               
trooper  for  a  village.    He said  that  recruitment  for  law                                                               
enforcement officers across the county  is difficult, and some of                                                               
the large police departments in the  Lower 48 are having the same                                                               
issues as Alaska.   He reiterated that VPSO programs  have a huge                                                               
turnover rate at thirty-three percent,  and the most VPSOs Alaska                                                               
has  ever  had  was  101  VPSOs  under  Governor  Sean  Parnell's                                                               
administration.   Governor  Parnell added  15 VPSO  positions per                                                               
year and one state trooper position  to support the 15 VPSOs.  He                                                               
said that reductions  in the budget brought  the long-term number                                                               
down to 70-80; the current number is in the 50s.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL COCKRELL  stated that originally  a VPSO was  a community                                                               
officer hired  from within  the village to  be a  first responder                                                               
but not take  much action.  He asserted that  currently much more                                                               
is required of VPSOs; they  are essentially police officers; they                                                               
attend the trooper  academy and have the same  training as Alaska                                                               
State Troopers; they  are now probation officers;  and more VPSOs                                                               
are  hired from  out-of-state and  are not  prepared for  village                                                               
life.  He  added that through the "rover" program,  the VPSOs are                                                               
kept more in the  urban areas and are flown out  to villages.  He                                                               
said there  is not much willingness  for troopers to live  in the                                                               
villages, and  living in the urban  area gives them a  break from                                                               
the village.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that HB 163 is held over.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB46 - Letter of Support - McClures 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 ver A 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB46 - Letter of support - Mr. Reginald Beverly 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB46 - LOS - Lael Morgan 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB46 - October 25th – African American Soldiers - 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB46 letter of support - AK Veterans Foundation 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 Fiscal Note DMVA 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 List of Testifiers - House State Affairs Committee 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 Sectional Analysis ver A 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 Senator Sullivan's Support 3.8.17.jpeg HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 Sponsor Statement ver A 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
Alaska Highway Day SB46.msg HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
letter of support and SB 46 supplemental material (1).msg HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
letter of support and SB 46 supplemental material.msg HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
HB163 Speaker Edgmon Contracts for Troopers Services Transmittal Letter 03.07.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 163
HB 163 Sectional Analysis 3.9.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 163
HB163 ver A 3.9.17.PDF HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 163
HB0163 Fiscal Note ADM 3.9.17.PDF HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 163
HB0163 Fiscal Note DPS 3.9.17.PDF HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 163
HB001 Draft Proposed Amendment D.1 3.7.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 1
HB094 Sponsor Statement 3.21.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 94
HB094 ver 30-LS0275-A 3.21.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 94
HB094 Supporting Document 3.21.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 94
HB094 Fiscal Note 3.21.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 94
SB 46 - LOS - Katrina Gill Beverly - 3.20.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 - LOS - Ceylon Mitchell - 3.20.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 Letter of Support Paula Perry 3.21.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
HB163 Letter of Support 3.18.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 163
SB046 Letter of Support,Thanks 3.22.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46