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MSB Sheriff? Cost estimate is $28 million

From the Manager’s Memo dated January 12, 2018:

 

Sheriff 5

Attachment:

MSB Sheriff 1Sheriff 2

One Comment

  1. Larry Wood Larry Wood February 13, 2020

    Obviously, the Moore et al dont’ have a clue. Note the use of “Safety Director”, “Chiefs”, etc. They are not talking about a constitutional sheriff’s dept where the sheriff is held accountable to the people, because the sheriff, unlike a police chief, is elected, not appointed. I have sent the Governor and Senator Hughes a draft to change the state’s Constitution:
    Proposed Amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska
    There are two version of the proposed draft, v1 is shorter and leaves to the Legislature several issues included in v2 below.
    DRAFT.v1
    Article X
    §16. Constitutional Sheriff
    The qualified voters of the unorganized and organized boroughs shall elect sheriffs empowered within the boundaries of each jurisdiction to keep the peace, to enforce constitutional law, to support and to defend the Constitution of the State of Alaska and the Constitution of the United States, and to act to protect the rights of the citizen. Any additional powers shall be prescribed by act of the Legislature. The sheriff shall be elected with a term of four years. Elections for sheriff shall be decided during state general elections. Any vacancies during a term shall be filled by the governor.
    Funding shall be prescribed by the Legislature in accordance with §2, §3, §5, §6 and §11 of Article X, and Article VII §5.

    Explanation
    New section to be added after Art. X §15.
    Clause 1: Authorizes the formation of a sheriff’s office by the citizens of the organized and unorganized boroughs and establishes the powers and term of office. Further provides that the office of sheriff be held by an elected candidate giving the citizens accountability and control of their borough police agency. Elections shall be held in state general election years to insure a good voter turnout. Provides that any vacancies be filled by the governor.
    Clause 2: Funding. The messy issue. However, the state constitution provides for the following:
    1. The Legislature is responsible for the public welfare, which includes the public safety;
    2. The Legislature has the responsibility for the unorganized boroughs; and
    3. The organized boroughs can levy taxes to mitigate the state’s liability for funding; incorporated villages and cities may also levy taxes to help fund a sheriff’s dept. for the jurisdiction.
    4. The federal government has to part of any solution, as in lots of money–or, end ANILCA and let the state use the land as intended under the Statehood Compact–all lands state and federal.
    5. See §2, §3, §5, §6 and §11 of Article X, and Article VII §5

    DRAFT.v2
    Article X
    §16. Constitutional Sheriff
    The qualified voters of the unorganized and organized boroughs shall elect sheriffs empowered within the boundaries of each jurisdiction to keep the peace, to enforce constitutional law, to support and to defend the Constitution of the State of Alaska and the Constitution of the United States, and to act to protect the rights of the citizen. Any additional powers shall be prescribed by act of the Legislature. The qualifications for the office are to be a resident of the jurisdiction for at least one year, a resident of the State of Alaska, at least 25 years of age, of good moral character, and without a criminal record. The sheriff shall be elected with a term of four years.
    Elections for sheriff shall be decided during state general elections.
    In the case of a jurisdiction failing to elect a sheriff, or a vacancy prior to the end of a sheriff’s term, the governor may act to appoint a resident or serving deputy of the jurisidiction as sheriff whose term of office shall be until the next general election. Should there be no qualified candidates from the jurisdiction, the governor may appoint a replacement whose residence is outside of the jurisdiction, but who is a state resident.
    The sheriff may appoint deputies as necessary to act with the sheriff’s authority in performance of duties or in the absence of the sheriff. The Legislature shall set the qualifications for deputies with consideration given to culture, location, education and ability.
    The sheriff may form posses to assist the sheriff and deputies as necessary comprising law abiding residents of the jurisdiction who are of good moral character and without a felony criminal record.
    Funding shall be prescribed by the Legislature in accordance with §2, §3, §5, §6 and §11 of Article X, and Article VII §5.

    Explanation for v2
    New section to be added after Art. X §15.
    Clause 1: Authorizes the formation of a sheriff’s office by the citizens of the organized and unorganized boroughs and establishes the powers, term of office, and provides for the qualifications for the office. Further provides that the office of sheriff be held by an elected candidate giving the citizens accountability and control of their borough police agency. Elections shall be held in state general election years to insure a good voter turnout.
    Clause 2: Provides for appointment of a temporary sheriff–which should in practice be the senior deputy–by the governor.
    Clause 3: Provides deputies to be appointed by the sheriff as necessary with the Legislature setting the qualifications. The sheriff’s depts should be peace officers, not police officers, in keeping with the old Territorial Police enforcement paradigm, and the VPSO standard of training. The VPSO program should be eliminated and the VPSOs converted to deputies.
    Clause 4: Funding. The messy issue. However, the state constitution provides for the following–
    1. The Legislature is responsible for the public welfare, which includes the public safety;
    2. The Legislature has the responsibility for the unorganized boroughs; and
    3. The organized boroughs can levy taxes to mitigate the state’s liability for funding; incorporated villages and cities may also levy taxes to help fund a sheriff’s dept. for the jurisdiction. The federal government has to part of any solution, as in lots of money–or, end ANILCA and let the state use the land as intended under the Statehood Compact–all lands state and federal, and the RNC’s and village corps also can contribute funding, facilities and training.
    4. See §2, §3, §5, §6 and §11 of Article X, and Article VII §5

    Reference for both versions: Article V §23, Constitution of the State of Texas
    “Sec. 23. SHERIFFS. There shall be elected by the qualified voters of each county a Sheriff , who shall hold his office for the term of four years, whose duties, qualifications, perquisites, and fees of office, shall be prescribed by the Legislature, and vacancies in whose office shall be filled by the Commissioners Court until the next general elec.. on. (Amended Nov. 2, 1954, and Nov. 2, 1993.)”


    Discussion:
    The federal government, the RNCs, and the village corporations all should play a role in what would need to be a comprehensive strategic plan to provide viable sheriffs’ departments for the organized and unorganized boroughs. The alternative is an ever expanding Alaska State Troopers which has never had the manpower to adequately police the Bush, rural and developed Alaska. The idea is to reduce the burden upon the AST and to put responsibility for the policing of the Bush upon the people who live there.
    The Constitutional Sheriff’s office would also allow cultural, language and other barriers to be dealt with within the jurisdiction by those who live in the jurisdiction. The office would be expected to reflect the cultural face of the jurisdiction within the framework of state and local law. The first sheriffs may be older Alaskans who qualify, rather than younger people who may be disqualified, because of education or criminal records issues.
    The idea of peace officers versus police officers puts the level of law enforcement back to pre-state Alaska and the practices of the Territorial Police. This would also allow the ready conversion of the VPSO officers as deputies in their respective jurisdictions, they simply would put on another badge and report to a Sheriff, rather than an RNC. This would allow an immediate law enforcement presence, as the cost of running all of the VPSOs through the full Trooper Academy and meet APSC standards, including a psych eval, would be prohibitive, time consuming and, really, unnecessary.
    The organized boroughs would also form sheriff’s departments to police outlying areas rather than the ‘contracts’ with the Troopers and established police departments that place additional burdens upon limited manpower and resources.
    Obviously, the criminal justice system in the Bush has to be upgraded to provide remote televised hearings no matter the location of the prisoner, new jails, quarters for the deputies on their “rounds”, the AST and Corrections personnel. There has to be a systemic approach. The Sheriff can be the first step in a long road to a viable off the road system Alaska criminal justice system.
    The $52M (now $60M) in grants by the federal DOJ is a good first step towards implementing such a long term solution.
    Justice delayed is justice denied.
    Drafter:
    Lawrence D. Wood
    4750 Wolverine Rd.
    Palmer, Alaska 99645
    Tel.: 907-746-4981 / Cell: 907-982-4460
    Fax: 907-746-4983
    E-mail: ld_wood@wood-alaska.com

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