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Village Public Safety Officer Program

First Responders - Last Frontier


The Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) program, conceived of in 1979 is funded by the State of Alaska through the Department of Public Safety (DPS), and provides rural Alaskan communities with needed public safety support services. The VPSO program was developed in response to the unique nature of public safety concerns in remote, rural Alaska, and over the past 40 years, the presence of a VPSO in a community can have a significant positive impact on improving the quality of life in the participating villages.

In communities associated with the program, citizens receive immediate response to emergencies without delays caused by weather or distance. VPSO work with other public safety professionals such as Village Police Officers and Alaska State Troopers. A VPSO can provide emergency medical response, search and rescue operations, fire prevention and suppression, disaster preparedness  and response, public safety education, and community policing.

As a result, the Village Public Safety Officers are generally the first to respond to many calls for help from community members; hence their motto, "First Responders‐Last Frontier".

Funding for the VPSO Program is provided by the Alaska legislature and managed by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) as per Alaska Statute 18.65.670, and Alaska Administrative Code 13 AAC Chapter 96. These statutes and regulations provide guidelines on how the program is structured.

The statewide VPSO program is divided into 10 individual programs. Each program is administered by the participating organization which employs and supervises the VPSO. The participating organization, or grantee manages daily operations and work with the local communities which receive VPSO services.

 

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