Lawmaker calls for audit of Alaska village officer program

An Alaska lawmaker is calling for an audit of the state-funded Village Public Safety Officer program, which sends officers to rural communities to bolster emergency services.

Alaska Public Media reported ( ) Wednesday that state Rep. Dan Saddler sent the Legislature the audit request. Saddler says he wants more information on why positions in the program are unfilled. He says he’s concerned about the share of program spending that goes into indirect costs like housing.

The program has seen a decrease in funding, along with the rest of state government in the last three years. The number of program officers has dropped from 92 in July 2014 to 53 this January.

Capt. Andrew Merrill, the program’s commander, says the state officers in rural communities are an integral part of public safety.

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