Governor’s budget plan calls for statewide drug prosecutor
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 called for adding a statewide drug prosecutor in Alaska.
The governor’s office said the position is part of the Public Safety Action Plan, which was created to address the state’s rise in crime and opioid use, the Ketchikan Daily News reported Friday.
John Skidmore, director of the criminal division of the Alaska Department of Law, said the job would allow the state to focus more energy on cracking down on the larger, wide-scale drug trafficking cases across the state.
“It is a position that is designed to have a focus on distribution of illegal narcotics within the state, at a larger scale, and is looking at that from a statewide perspective,” Skidmore said. “And so the addition of that position is part of this administration’s effort to combat the importation, or the flow, of drugs into the state overall, which is designed to help us with the opioid epidemic and the other drug issues that the state is currently facing.”
Skidmore said it makes sense for one person to have the intelligence of multiple law enforcement agencies because the flow of narcotics doesn’t impact just one community. The position would also alleviate the large caseload some prosecutors have, he said.
“Most prosecutors across the state have to manage and juggle multiple cases on their caseload,” Skidmore said, noting that the statewide drug prosecutor would take the most serious of drug cases off the plates of potentially overburdened district attorneys.
The regular session of the state Legislature begins Jan. 16.
Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.ketchikandailynews.com