Last year, the Anchorage Daily News announced a partnership with investigative journalism non-profit ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network that became the excellent Lawless series that explored Alaska’s long-running issues with sexual violence and public safety.
The reports by ADN’S Kyle Hopkins included personal stories from survivors of sexual violence, examined how the system failed victims and laid bare the disparities in how Alaska spends its resources on public safety. As a collection, the work stands as an invaluable examination of the inequitable state of public safety in Alaska and it won’t be coming to an end.
Today, ProPublica announced that it has selected the Anchorage Daily News for a second year in its partnership. The partnership includes a grant for one year’s salary and benefits for the participating reporter as well as access to ProPublica’s editors as well as its data and research teams.
There’s no word on the direction of what the next year of the Lawless series will take, but now that we have a good look at the problems it will be valuable to start exploring solutions.
Since the launch of the reporting project, the federal Department of Justice has declared the lack of rural law enforcement to be a federal emergency and has brought resources to the table on the issue.
And while there has been plenty of warranted skepticism about the Dunleavy administration’s approach to rural public safety, his budget does propose funding for an additional 15 troopers to rural posts. It doesn’t, however, include any additional funding for the Village Public Safety Officer program despite the governor’s promise to fund any new recruits.
It’s along that line that there’s at least one question that Hopkins would still like to get answered.
“Worth noting: The state of Alaska & Gov. Dunleavy–who recently called the federal disaster declaration “long overdue”—have not declared a corresponding state emergency despite calls to do so by the Alaska Federation of Natives,” he wrote on Twitter before announcing the second year of the partnership. “Why not? The governor’s office has not directly answered the question.”