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Wed Jul 24, 2019, 03:46 AM

Cops in One Village Have Been Convicted of 70 Crimes. Here's What They Had to Say About It.

STEBBINS, Alaska — No gun. No training. $14 an hour.

If there were better jobs to be had, city police officers in this Bering Strait village say they’d apply for them. But working as a village police officer is one of the few options available. Especially for those with fresh criminal records or felony rap sheets.

“I made a change in my life. I don’t use drugs. I don’t drink,” said Officer Delbert Acoman, 45, who has served a total of 292 days behind bars and amassed 18 criminal convictions including burglary and assault over the years.

ProPublica and the Anchorage Daily News reported Thursday that at least 14 Alaska villages, including Stebbins, have hired police with criminal records, a violation of state hiring requirements. In eight other communities, tribes have hired tribal police officers convicted of domestic violence or sex crimes. The findings are based on the first-ever database of Alaska VPOs and TPOs, created by contacting city governments and tribes in 57 villages.

In Stebbins, all seven officers working as of July 1 had pleaded guilty or no contest in more than 70 criminal cases, spanning decades. Together they have spent years in prisons and jails for charges ranging from low-level misdemeanors to sexual abuse of a minor. (The Alaska Police Standards Council says that domestic violence convictions, even misdemeanors, disqualify someone from working as a VPO.)

Read more: https://www.propublica.org/article/cops-in-stebbins-alaska-have-been-convicted-of-70-crimes-heres-what-they-had-to-say-about-it

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