In blue, U.S. Attorney General William Barr walks the Napaskiak boardwalk with tribal administrator Sharon Williams, right, and others on Friday, May 31, 2019. Barr visited Bethel and Napaskiak to learn about law enforcement and public safety challenges in the region. (Marc Lester / ADN)

Source: Alex DeMarban

U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr declared an emergency for public safety in rural Alaska on Friday and announced that the Department of Justice will provide more than $10 million in emergency funds as part of a sweeping plan to support law enforcement in Alaska Native villages.

The department’s Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Program will immediately provide $6 million to the state to hire, equip and train rural police, and for mobile holding cells. Another $4.5 million will support 20 officer positions and be provided to Alaska Native organizations by the end of July.

The announcement comes a month after Barr visited Alaska during a multiday trip to hear concerns from Alaska Natives and rural residents about a lack of police in rural communities and high rates of sexual assault and family violence.

During a trip to a Western Alaska village in late May, Barr called the situation an “emergency” and vowed to do everything he could to help.

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