Tlingit & Haida awarded $1.5 million in Criminal Tribal Justice grants

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – The Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) has been awarded two critical tribal justice grants, totaling nearly $1.5 million, to be used by the Tribe's Public Safety Division.
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These grants are part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS) programs.
Tlingit & Haida received $900,000 to oversee the Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information (TAP), and an additional nearly $600,000 for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office Tribal Resources Grant Program.
The Tribe was designated as a TAP partner in 2019, a program that enables federally recognized tribes to access the national crime information database for both criminal and non-criminal justice purposes.
The recently acquired CTAS grant funding will enable Tlingit & Haida to significantly enhance public safety through the Tribal Access Program. Once TAP is in place, our tribal law enforcement agencies will gain seamless access to essential federal crime databases, such as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), equipping the Tribe with vital resources to assist in the protection of tribal citizens. TAP will also support our Human Resources Department in efficiently conducting comprehensive background checks for potential employees. Additionally TAP supports emergency child placement and those who live at our non-congregate Reentry & Recovery shelters.
Public Safety Director Jason Wilson said the TAP would allow Tlingit & Haida to more effectively serve and protect tribal citizens by ensuring an exchange of critical data from across the Criminal Justice Information Services system.
Unfortunately, Tlingit & Haida has not been able to implement TAP yet because the Tribe is understaffed in that area.
“I firmly believe that this grant will be a game-changer for our citizens and the entire Southeast Alaska community,” Wilson said. “It will not only enhance our tribal justice system but also directly improve the safety and well-being of our people. With the support of this grant, we can bridge the gaps in accessing vital crime information, ensuring quicker response times, and ultimately, a safer environment for all Tlingit and Haida citizens and our neighbors in Southeast Alaska.”
Funding from the CTAS grant will provide the resources to hire a TAP coordinator to develop policies and procedures for the program, assist users with training and collect and track data.
Funding from the COPS Office Tribal Resources Grant Program will be instrumental in addressing gaps in law enforcement and public safety.
Tlingit & Haida plans to purchase land vehicles and marine response supplies, along with communications equipment, to bolster the capacity of the Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) program and improve officer safety.
Public Safety Director Wilson emphasized the importance of this investment, stating, “Our VPSOs identified these needs based on their calls for service throughout Southeast Alaska, “Keeping our VPSOs safe is a critical step toward keeping tribal citizens safe.”
Tlingit & Haida operates the VPSO program in Southeast Alaska with officers in seven communities.