As we approach Spring, a time where many will be spending more time outside with family and in our communities, our office wanted to send out an update on public safety.
What is being worked on in the Capitol?
What resources are out there to help communities stay safe?
Public Safety in the Capitol
While I could not support SB 91, those who did acknowledged that it would require alterations during its implementation. It was an enormous change to our criminal laws and procedures, and as we have found out, passing such a large bill can result in unintended consequences. Last fall, the Legislature passed some critically necessary fixes to SB 91, however, our work to improve the accountability and security in our criminal laws is far from over.
Last night, KTVA Channel 11 aired an in-depth report on some of SB 91’s most glaring and dangerous loopholes. I worked with their reporter to present a full picture of just how harmful this new section of the law is to our community.
You can watch the full report below.
The Pretrial Risk Assessment process has gaping holes that currently allow serious criminals out of jail with inadequate or no supervision. There are a few bills this session
that seek to expand the scope of the risk assessment tool. However, I believe the best solution is to keep the ultimate decision making authority, over who is safe enough or too dangerous to be released back into our communities, with our judges.
House Bill 335, which I sponsored, unties judges’ hands and allows them to keep hardened criminals and those who are unlikely to show up to mandated court appearances behind bars until their trial. Alaskans should not have to endure situations like those we’ve experienced recently
where judges are prevented from stepping in and holding someone in jail, even though they view that person as a clear threat to the public’s safety.
To learn more about this bill, watch my statement below:
To much consternation and public outcry, House Bill 335 and other bills attempting to roll-back loopholes and address the consequences of SB 91 have stalled in the Capitol. While we are near the end of session, I remain hopeful that enough support can be gained to pass these before we adjourn. I am working daily to help my colleagues see that these critical fixes are needed, especially when we know they would have an immediate positive impact on public safety.
Many of you have asked for and are wondering whether or not the Legislature is going to support a full repeal of SB 91. I am here to tell you that in addition to voting for a full repeal of SB 91 last fall, I have co-sponsored two different bills (House Bill 311 & 228) that also fully repeal SB91. I intend to keep pressing forward on this issue and will work to see these bills discussed and passed by the Legislature. Neither of these bills have yet been given even initial hearings this session.
What Can You Do?
In addition to advocating for bills that you support and would like to see passed, there are many resources and volunteer opportunities in Anchorage that help to address community safety.
Organizing a Neighborhood Watch is an incredibly helpful tool to improving vigilance and preventing crime on a street-by-street level. There may be an existing watch in your area to join, but if you’d like to start one, the Anchorage Police Department wants to help! Click here
to find out more about the process.
The Anchorage Coalition of Community Patrols is a great resource for those looking to participate in a community patrol group in your area. Community patrols help improve neighborhood safety by keeping a watchful eye on our streets and reporting suspicious activity. South Anchorage has at least three different patrols right now, and you can find their contact information here
If you have an emergency, please call 9-1-1. However, the Anchorage Police Department is looking to make it easier to report non-emergency activity by calling their new line, 3-1-1, or reporting a crime online here
. Non-emergency reports are still a critical way that police build cases against offenders and track patterns of activity in our community.
I know that there is no greater priority than providing for the safety of Alaskans, and as work this session continues, our focus will be on crime prevention and survivor support. We are hopeful that when you have ideas, questions or concerns that you get in touch with us! We are here to serve you!
All my best,