This case also gives an informative history of the VPSO and Village Police Officer programs in Alaska.
(57.) The violence in rural Alaska and difficulties of remote policing are exemplified by an incident that occurred on May 1, 2014 in which two Alaska State Troopers were killed with a semi-automatic rifle by the 19-year-old son of a man that the Troopers had come to the off-the-road-system village to question for allegedly threatening a VPSO with a firearm.
of Alaska Anchorage, A Brief Look at VPSOs and Violence Against Women Cases, 28 Alaska Just.
The VPSO works at the intersection of this conflict and mediates Native and non-Native legal traditions in her/his work.
Second, I will sketch the conditions of Native villages and the office of the VPSO. Next, I describe the distinct understandings advocated by four groups, labeled for convenience intellectuals, political activists, service providers and villagers, and speculate on the reasons why such patterned interpretations arise and what their consequences are.
There is a large literature on Native villages (e.g., Ellanna, 199 1; Fall, 1987; Helm, 198 1; or Wheeler, 1987) and legal developments and theory (e.g., Allott and Woodman, 1985; Case, 1984; Galanter, 1981; Hazelhurst, 1985; Hippler and Conn, 1972; Morse and Woodman, 1988; Nader and Todd, 1978; or Zion, 1983), and some descriptions of the VPSO program (AK, DPS, 1987; Marenin and Copus, 1991).
Questions dealt with five general subject areas: disputes respondents had been involved in; perceptions of the VPSO; problems reported and not reported to the VPSO; support for subsistence and Native issues; and perceptions of the past and future of Native villages.
This group included all VPSO coordinators in the headquarters of the Native non-profit corporations (which employ the VPSOs) and Alaska State Trooper oversight officers, as well as state employees and private persons working in regional centers who were familiar with disorder and crime in Native villages and with the VPSO program (e.g., administrators and training officers in the State Troopers headquarters; Family and Youth Services counselors; Community and Regional Affairs experts; employees in the Bureau of Indian Affairs; Magistrates; Prosecutors; Public Defenders; Directors of Women’s Shelters; Probation Officers; Alcohol and Sex Abuse Counselors; and former VPSOs).
From this perspective, the VPSO can serve a useful function if he or she is controlled by the local government.
The most relevant for this discussion are State Troopers, VPSO coordinators in Native non-profit corporations, and state bureaucrats who deal with social disorders and frequently call on the VPSO.