Walker Names National Guard Special Investigator

Gov. Bill Walker has named a retired judge as his federal investigator into the Alaska National Guard.

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Patricia Collins, a former Superior Court judge for Juneau, will conduct the investigation into the Alaska National Guard. Her hiring was announced at a Thursday press conference, where Attorney General Craig Richards laid out the parameters of her assignment.

Retired Judge Patricia Collins. (Photo courtesy Governor's Office)
Retired Judge Patricia Collins. (Photo courtesy Governor’s Office)

“She is going to look at each allegation that has been made about either inappropriate sexual conduct in the Guard, to Guard members by other Guard members, or by Guard members to non-guard members,” Richards said.

The contract with the state requires Collins look at how law enforcement and the executive branch has handled sexual assault in the Alaska National Guard since September of 2010. Around that time, members of the National Guard approached the Parnell administration with criminal allegations and concerns about their leadership. While a number of federal investigations since that time found nothing amiss, a 2014 probe by the National Guard Bureau found that the Alaska force struggled with favoritism and fraud, and that there was a level of mistrust around sexual assault reporting.

That federal report was released shortly before the election, and became a major campaign issue for now-Gov. Bill Walker.

At the press conference, Walker emphasized that Collins would be given the tools needed to complete the investigation, including the authority to review full National Guard records.

“Our assurance is she would have access to that data,” Walker said.

Attorney General Richards says that Collins will complete two reports into the National Guard, the first of which is due in April. That report that will not be released to the public, as it will contain details on all the players involved.

“The confidentiality of victims in any police investigation is a top priority,” Richards said. “That’s not going to change here.”

In May, a public version of the report will be released that will describe the findings without identifying information.

Collins will also advise whether it’s proper to move forward with prosecutions or further police investigations.

Collins will be paid $160 an hour for the work, with the contract currently capped at $50,000.

agutierrez (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.209.1799 | About Alexandra

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