Rural Justice & Law Enforcement

The Criminal and Civil Divisions of the Department of Law are committed to improving justice in rural Alaska. The Department has rural offices in Bethel, Dillingham, Kotzebue and Nome. The staff work diligently in aiding and instructing law enforcement personnel, including Village Public Safety Officers and village and tribal officers; providing local prosecutorial services and attorneys who work on child protective issues, issues relating to alcohol abuse importation and interdiction; and supporting the fight against child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence.

The Department recognizes the recommendations of the Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission established by the United States Congress in 2004. The Commission made nine recommendations for improving rural justice: (1) Engaging in more partnerships and collaboration, (2) Making systemic changes to improve rural justice law enforcement, (3) Enlarge the use of community-based solutions, (4) Broaden the use of prevention approaches, (5) Broaden the use of therapeutic approaches, (6) Increase employment of rural residents in law enforcement and judicial services, (7) Build additional capacity, (8) Increase access to judicial services, and (9) Expand the use of new technologies.

The Department has also worked with the Alaska State Legislature to support rural communities regarding local alcohol option laws and improving state statutes regarding bootlegging. The legislation has provided funding for lawyers to work on interdicting alcohol headed for dry communities. Our focus is to work with village residents to address their needs.