Federal funds add 24 public safety officer positions to Y-K Delta

Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta officers wait to receive their graduation certificates from Rural Law Enforcement Training at Yuut Elitnaurviat in Bethel on June 14, 2019. (Photo by Katie Basile/KYUK)

Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta tribes and communities have received federal grants to hire more public safety officers. The influx of money from the U.S. Department of Justice will add 24 officers to a region where many villages don’t have any local law enforcement.

The Native Village of Kwinhagak and the Asa’carsarmiut Tribal Council in Mountain Village each received funding to add one public safety officer. The following tribes received funding to add two officers: Napakiak, Nunapitchuk, Tununak, Chefornak and Nunakauyarmiut in Toksook Bay.

Municipalities also received funding to add police officers. Bethel Police Department received money for one officer, the Akiak Native Community for two officers, the City of Marshall for three officers, and the City of Chevak for six officers.

The funds follow a trip U.S. Attorney General William Barr made to the region in May 2019. After visiting Bethel and Napaskiak, Barr declared a public safety emergency, saying, “the very basics of public safety are lacking in the villages, and part of the basics are having first responders that can actually respond in a timely way.”

The Justice Department committed millions of dollars to improve public safety in rural Alaska, and set a goal of putting a local public safety official in every rural Alaska community.

Funds Received by Y-K Delta tribes:

Asa’carsarmiut Tribal Council (Mountain Village): $387,415 for one officer
Native Village of Kwinhagak: $306,123 for one officer
Native Village of Napakiak: $453,859 for two officers
Native Village of Nunapitchuk: $465,365 for two officers
Native Village of Tununak: $456,216 for two officers
Village of Chefornak: $86,503 for two officers
Nunakauyarmiut Tribe (Toksook Bay): $500,950 for two officers

Funds Received by Y-K Delta cities:

Akiak Native Community: $214,956 for two officers
Bethel Police Department: $125,000 for one officer
City of Chevak: $491,234 for six officers
City of Marshall: $403,688 for three officers

KYUK - Bethel

KYUK is our partner station in Bethel. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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