FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2018
A Provision of the Governor’s Public Safety Action Plan Passes the Alaska Legislature
SB 148 Gives Necessary Tools to the Alaska Police Standards Council to Assist Rural Law Enforcement Agencies
Juneau – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed a key piece of legislation in the Governor’s Public Safety Action Plan. Representative Matt Claman (D-Anchorage) supported and carried Senate Bill 148 on the House floor. The bill passed the Alaska State Senate unanimously last month and will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.
In 1972, when the legislature created the Alaska Police Standards Council (APSC), they granted the council the power to establish regulations defining the minimum standards for hiring and training of police officers. From that time forward, APSC has, by regulation, required a fingerprint-based background check for all officers to verify the identity of the aspiring officer and to assure a prospective employer the applicant does not have disqualifying criminal history.
Due to recent changes in federal regulation to protect the public from unauthorized release of sensitive, private information, the FBI no longer regards the APSC as a “law enforcement agency.” The APSC cannot currently take fingerprints and conduct criminal history background checks for prospective employees. As a result, small rural agencies lack the means to comply with this important regulation.
SB 148 addresses this issue by adopting statutes specifically authorizing the APSC to assist rural communities in recruiting law enforcement officers and independent students seeking enrollment in police training academies.
“I applaud the Governor for bringing this bill forward, and I thank the Department of Public Safety and Alaska Police Standards Council for their work on this important legislation,” said Rep. Claman.
Senate Bill 148 passed the Alaska Senate by a vote of 18-0, and today, the bill passed the Alaska House of Representatives by a vote of 38-2. SB 148 will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.
For more information, please contact Lizzie Kubitz in Rep. Claman’s office at (907) 465-4904.