Feds award nearly $5M to combat rural Alaska violence

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Rural Alaska Native villages are receiving almost $5 million from the U.S. Justice Department to combat numerous public safety problems, including no law enforcement presence in some communities.

Tuesday’s announcement comes nearly two months after Attorney General William Barr met with tribal representatives, who told him about slow response times from authorities, violence against women and abuse of alcohol and drugs, including opioids in remote communities.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr, left, greets Vivian Korthius with the Association of Village Council Presidents at a roundtable discussion at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska, where participants discussed public safety concerns in rural Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

In June, Barr declared a law enforcement emergency in Alaska after visiting the state the previous month. The declaration clears the way for the Justice Department to award more than $10 million to combat crime in rural Alaska communities.

That includes the money announced Tuesday to help hire additional village and tribal officers and to pay for equipment and training.

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