More resources on tap for Y-K Delta law enforcement

The Bethel Police Department. (Photo courtesy Bethel Police Department)

Last week, the U.S. Marshals Service took a trip out to Bethel and nearby communities to make sure that registered sex offenders were complying with restrictions, such as living where they are required to live. They also were traveling to ensure that outstanding warrants were dealt with, according to Deputy U.S. Marshal in Alaska Rochelle Liedike.

“We were either working with local law enforcement here to get warrants for those individuals, or working to get those people back into compliance,” Liedike said.

The U.S. Marshals Service is a federal agency that’s supposed to assist local and state law enforcement. That can come with some big challenges in Alaska, since many communities that need extra assistance are remote and only accessible by plane, or by boat in the summer.

Liedike has been out to Bethel and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta before, but her visits will become more frequent after U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s visit to Bethel in May to see the rural Alaska public safety situation firsthand. Shortly after his visit, Barr declared a public safety law enforcement emergency for rural Alaska and freed up funding and resources. And the results, Liedike said, were almost immediate.

“The extra resources have allowed us the ability to get out here, and we’re hoping to make a difference and actually help out the community here,” Liedike said.

One of the ways to do that is a new partnership called “Operation Rural Alaska Anti-Violence Enforcement” or RAAVEN. According to a press release, the RAAVEN effort completed 140 compliance checks and helped arrest 14 people on warrants that involved murder charges, possession of child pornography, felony assault and other offenses.

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