Increased support needed for VPSO Programs for our tribal communities

by Alaska Tribal Unity

The Alaska Tribal Unity Gathering will be taking place Monday, December 2nd, 2019 in Anchorage. This is the fourth year that they will be meeting. Proposed Resolution No. 2019-06 for Increased Support and Provide Flexibility to Contracted VPSO Programs to Ensure Timely and Adequate Public Safety Services to Alaskan Tribal Communities will be presented at the gathering.

Proposed Resolution No. 2019-06

WHEREAS, the Alaska Tribal Unity was established in November 2016 as an assembly of tribes for the purpose of developing a unified voice for on important issues that affect Alaska tribes. The tribes have chosen to operate under an agreed upon set of principles and ground rules rather than operate under a formalized structure of incorporation at this time; and

WHEREAS, the mission of Alaska Tribal Unity is to develop a tribal alliance committed to enhancing and protecting sovereignty, self determination, and quality of life for Alaska Natives while partnering for a stronger Alaska; and

WHEREAS, rural Alaska Villages have often been left out of adequate law enforcement, judicial services, and subsequent services for decades; and

WHEREAS, rural Alaska faces the highest crime rates in the nation and the Tribal Communities and their partners understand the most effective way to serve the unmet need in their communities; and

WHEREAS, VPSO grantees work with rural communities daily and understand the diverse and complex issues they face, the State of Alaska does not have the same relationship with the rural communities; and

WHEREAS, there is a current unresolved crisis in rural Alaska, and a lack of public safety services provided by the State of Alaska, even after the “Federal Government Declaration of Law Enforcement Emergency”, ordered by US attorney General William Barr; and

WHEREAS, the VPSO program grantees are being bound to strict guidelines that prevent effective public safety services from being delivered and those services are not aligned with our Alaska Native Cultural values; and

WHEREAS, if the grantees had the flexibility of a compact-like agreement, the grantees would have the flexibility to move their funds where they are needed. The grantees would only have to complete one yearly report verses monthly or quarterly reports. A compact-like agreement with the State would allow the grantees the flexibility to structure their program to best fit the needs of their prospective regions which are all unique in their own right.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Tribal Leaders at the 2019 Alaska Tribal Unity Gathering request the legislature to help VPSO grantees meet the unique public safety needs of rural Alaska by:

1. Giving grantees control to reprogram funding among grant line items without requiring DPS approval; and

2. Giving grantees control over program structure in order for Alaska Tribal Communities to receive effective and culturally sensitive public safety services; and

3. Requiring only one annual report for the grant due at the end of the fiscal year; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Tribal Leaders at the 2019 Alaska Tribal Unity Gathering are supportive of Legislative action to increase the VPSO pay to a competitive wage, which would attract more potential VPSO applicants and hires to better serve our villages.

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