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KNBA News - Gov. Walker names members of Governor's Advisory Tribal Council


Governor names Tribal Advisory Council Members

By Joaqlin Estus, KNBA - Anchorage

Governor Bill Walker Thursday announced the formation of an 11-member tribal advisory council. He said the goal is to talk with tribes about issues of concern to both tribes and the state, and to find ways to join forces to address them. Walker said he and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott will meet with the Governor’s Tribal Advisory Council quarterly, or more often as the need arises.

“We’re very excited about the relationship we’re going to build, that we’re building,” said Gov. Walker. “And it’s about trust and it’s about having the comfort level of discussing issues that might be uncomfortable in an atmosphere that is acceptable, not only acceptable, it is invited and  encouraged that we have those kinds of discussions.” 

Council members were nominated by tribes and chosen by the Governor to represent all the regions of the state. They have expertise in topics such as housing, subsistence, energy, and education.

Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott said the state can learn from tribes through these discussions. He said tribes have developed systems of governance in transportation and health services, for instance, that serve rural needs well.

“And that takes sophistication. It takes knowledge. It takes experience,” said Mallott. “And that is growing to a level where I think in many ways, the tribes are leading the state, and are ahead of the state. So both can benefit from a much more collaborative working relationship.”

Ralph Anderson, of Dillingham, said Alaska Natives have an interest in doing their part to help the state prosper.

“This is where we live. This is where our grandparents were born. This is where our children were born. This is where our children and grandchildren are going to bury us,” said Anderson. “So at the end of the day, your success, the state’s success is our success too. Because we want to leave behind for our children and our grandchildren our very, very best efforts.”

In October of 2015 Walker signed Administrative Order 227 establishing the Governor’s Tribal Advisory Council. He said it will incur no costs. Governor’s office staff will provide support to the Council, which will meet by teleconference.           


Electronic storage device tracking dog to help combat child pornography

By John Sallee, KNBA Intern

The Anchorage Police Department has a new investigative tool to combat child pornography, and it comes with a cream and yellow coat and four legs. A golden lab, Odie, will be cracking down on crime through the power of his nose. Lt. Kevin Vandegriff said it’s surprising but true: Odie is able to sniff and find chemicals unique to electronic storage devices such as hard drives, SD cards, disks, cd’s and phones.

“Just like many of you, I was like ‘You gotta be kidding me a dog can find electronic storage media? We need to bring one of these to Alaska,’” said Vandergriff. 

Odie originally was trained as a seeing eye dog for the blind, but was dropped because of his high energy. He then went on to electronic storage device detection training in Connecticut. There are only 10 K9’s in the world trained to sniff out and identify these chemicals. Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitzsaid he supports the department’s creative approach.

“We’ve got cutting edge technology which is changing the nature of crime and the more innovative we can be in combating crime the more we can do to protect the people of Anchorage,” said Berkowitz.

These device-detecting K9’s have proven to be powerful tools. One such K9, known as Bear, helped with a notorious case involving Jared Fogle, known as a Subway spokesman. Vandergriffsaid as the case developed, Jared got ready for law enforcement to search his Indianapolis home.

“He had child pornography, and he had stored it on a couple of thumb drives. And he hid it in his garage in a coffee can full of nuts and bolts,” said Vandergriff. “What Jared didn't know was that there was an electronic storage detection dog that was going to be augmenting the Indiana state police.”

Bear found the evidence, which made the case. Jared is now serving his sentence of 15 years in prison.

Here in Anchorage, Odie’s trainer, Sgt. Aaron Whit, gave a demonstration of Odie sniffing out hidden chemicals, rewarding him with dog treats. Whit said food is a strong motivator for Odie.

“Now, when he’s not working you have to watch your food,” said Whit.

Odie, originally known as Gleezon, gets his name from Anchorage Police officer Barry Odin Hetlet, a prominent figure in protecting Anchorage children who passed away last year. To honor Hetlet’s memory, his widow gave Gleeson the middle name of Odin.

A federal grant covered Odie’s purchase price of $2,300.