ANCHORAGE, Alaska More than 34 law enforcement officers across the state of Alaska have been found to have criminal records that should have prevented them from being hired under Alaska State law.
According to the Associated Press, 14 cities from across Alaska have employed police officers with extensive criminal backgrounds including domestic violence and sex crimes with many who are still currently employed.
In eight additional communities, local tribal governments have hired tribal police officers convicted of domestic violence or sex crimes, the news organizations reported.
All 42 of these tribal and city police officers have rap sheets that would prevent them from being hired by the Anchorage Police Department and its urban peers, as Alaska state troopers or even as private security guards most anywhere else in the United States, the news organizations said. Many remain on the job.
This report comes nearly a month after U-S Attorney General William Barr declared a law enforcement emergency in Alaska and awarded more than 10-million dollars in funds to combat crime in rural communities.
Melanie Bahnke, a board member for the Alaska Federation of Natives said in a statement, “It's outrageous that we have a situation where we have a, such a lack of public safety that communities are resorting to hiring people who have the propensity for violence, And placing them in a position where they have control over people and possibly could victimize the victims further," said Bahnke.
Alaska has one of the highest rates of domestic violence and sexual assault in the United States. Those rates are increasingly higher in rural areas and native Alaska communities, some that have little or no law enforcement presence.