YTT Receives $241,680 in Policing Services Grant

In a coordinated effort, Nathan Moulton, YTT Executive Director, and Amanda Bremner, Grant Consultant, strategized and completed a grant application to the US Department of Justice. On February 26th, the Tribe submitted an application for $1.7 million in grant funding through the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS). The Tribe applied for 5 purpose areas (PA); PA #1: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), PA#2: Tribal Justice Systems, PA #5: Office of Violence Against Women, PA #7: Office of Victims of Crime, and PA #9: Tribal Youth Program.

CTAS serves as a single solicitation for existing tribal government-specific award programs administered by the COPS Office, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). The CTAS solicitation is designed to assist tribes with addressing crime and public safety issues in a comprehensive manner. The CTAS award application process was inspired by and developed after consultation with tribal leaders and has been updated based on continued tribal consultations and listening sessions.

On July 30, 2019, the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe received notice of award for Purpose Area #1: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) for $241,680, under the 2019 COPS Tribal Resources Grant Program – Equipment and Training (TRGP-E/T). The goal of this Purpose Area is to reinforce the following initiatives that address public safety issues facing the community: 1) Drug interdiction focusing on methamphetamine and opiate trafficking and sales; 2) Monitoring and enforcement against sport fishing violations; 3) Access to remote sites currently inaccessible with current equipment.

To carry out these goals, the COPS Purpose Area required the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the City and Borough of Yakutat’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) to identify partnership opportunities between the Yakutat Tlingit Tribal Court/ Crime Victim Services and the Yakutat Police Department. The amount that was secured by YTT from this grant award will be used to purchase essential law enforcement gear and police equipment; and to replace aging vehicles of the Yakutat Police Department which includes new police cruisers, river jet boat, and snow machines.

A community assessment study reveals that drug-related crime, with a focus on methamphetamine and opiate trafficking and sales, is one of the most pressing issues facing Yakutat, and has been for several years. It is determined that the main obstacle for DPS concerning drug-related crime is the fact that Alaska is not a ‘free-sniff’ state. Meaning that even if a detection dog alerts an officer to drug presence, that is not enough cause for a search and seizure. Additionally, the force lacks advanced equipment to effectively decrease drug crime. The DPS currently has five (5) vehicles that haven’t been upgraded since 2010, and none of which are equipped with efficient radars. The Yakutat Tlingit Tribe determines that procuring new special-service vehicles for the DPS that are equipped with police-specific parts and radar systems will allow officers to justify routine traffic stops which may lead to additional drug search and seizure, therefore directly impacting the current law enforcement team’s ability to prevent, solve, and control drug-related crimes within town.

Another critical issue that the Tribe wishes to address through this grant pertains to fish and wildlife violations. The Situk River has historically been one of the most productive salmon rivers in Alaska and is the primary resource of subsistence salmon for the community. Salmon stocks in Situk River have declined in recent years, and subsistence harvest of Sockeye salmon was restricted for the first time in 2018. The Sockeye run during the same year was the lowest in recorded history, falling well below the Alaska Department of Fish & Game’s escapement goal. Because commercial, sport, federal and state subsistence fisheries occur on this river, management is complex. Additionally, very few citations are given regarding fish and game violations, which may be attributed to inadequate personnel and infrequent patrols. Through this grant funding, the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe will purchase the necessary equipment to enable officers to carry out additional patrols and increase access to sports fishing locations, which will lead to more effective and stricter enforcement of fish and wildlife sports fishing regulations.

The Yakutat Tlingit Tribe is extremely grateful to Amanda Bremner, who is such a wealth of knowledge and her attention to detail and her mastery of grant component needs and deliverables was critical in securing the funding received to date. We are excited to see the Tribe’s service offerings expanding and we are anxiously awaiting word on the remaining Purpose Areas yet to be announced.