Community Chair Discusses Tribal Police Oversight Issues In Greater Sutton

LETTER TO THE COUNTRY JOURNAL  Sutton Community Council Chair Speaks About Oversight, Issues Of Chickaloon Tribal Police  On May 3rd, the Co...


Sutton Community Council Chair Speaks About Oversight, Issues Of Chickaloon Tribal Police 

On May 3rd, the Country Journal wrote an article about Chickaloon Village and the Alaska Department of Public Safety's plan to turn over policing in Sutton to the village. 

On June 25th, 2024, the chair of the Sutton Community Council wrote the following to the Journal


Hello, my name is Chris Spitzer and I am the chair on the Sutton Community Council. I wanted to reach out and thank you for the article(s) you published concerning the Chickaloon tribal police and the DPS special commission. There were several articles around covering the story but your publication seemed to cover it in a way unlike the other (fairly cookie cutter) articles and you presented other information concerning other instances of tribal police.

The other reason I am writing, is because I do not believe this issue is actually behind us. 

We may have kicked it down the road. Three key things concern me.

 First, the fact that Department of Public Safety Commissioner Cockrell stated that his reason for rescinding the commission was due to concerns of altercations... 

He in no way whatsoever articulated the concerns about oversight and accountability of a sovereign nation having authority off of their lands on non tribal members. 

He essentially introduced a narrative that is superficial. That opens the door for this issue to rise up again with essentially no changes. The other part that concerns me, are his words... 

He is quoted as saying:  
“The people of Alaska have to accept the fact that there will be tribal police — tribal police will have authority on not only Indigenous people, but potentially other peoples that populate our state,”.... 

There is a clear plan to utilize federal dollars by giving tribes more broad policing authority. The third thing is tied to the second... That would be this VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) program. 

I have introduced other concerning information to other news sources but nobody is really "getting it out there"...

I am confident that this agenda is not widely known to the vast majority of Alaskans. I saw a microcosm of this when presenting the Chickaloon police thing. I cannot tell you how many times I heard "why is this the first time I'm hearing of this?".... 

I assure you, Sutton has been trying to get this out there for at least three years. It was like pulling teeth to get DPS to come give their presentation for obvious reasons. Anyway, I think that the reaction from Mat-Su Borough residents is not far from how a majority of Alaskans would respond across the state.

Chris Spitzer
Chair, Sutton Community Council 


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