Juneau, Alaska (KINY) A combined $7,000 will support purchase of drug detection K9 for Yakutat and Cordova.
As a part of their continuing work to address the opioid crisis and build a Safer Alaska, Governor Bill Walker and Lt. Governor Byron Mallott will each donate $3,500 for a new drug detection K9 that will serve Yakutat and Cordova, and help reduce the flow of illegal drugs into rural Alaska.
“In January, Lt. Governor Mallott and I committed to building resilient committees as part of our Safer Alaska initiative,” Governor Walker said. “The purchase of this K9 will be one step in assisting these Alaska communities in their efforts to prevent the distribution of opioids.”
Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Mallott announced the $7,000 donation Wednesday at the state’s Opioid Task Force meeting. Yakutat is also seeking additional grants and donations to defray the cost of training for the dog and the handler, plus veterinarian care for the new K9. Cordova retired its dog last year and with jet flights twice a day between Cordova and Yakutat, the new dog will be able to work in both towns as needed.
“I am delighted that the Governor and I can help out in a small but meaningful way,” said Lt. Governor Mallott, whose hometown is Yakutat. “Making Alaska a safer place for our families is something we care deeply about.”
During the task force meeting, members met “Buddy,” Juneau Police Department’s drug detection German Shepherd and his handler, Detective Mike Wise. Detective Wise outlined the benefits of having a trained K9 to sniff out illegal narcotics at the airport, post office and shipping ports. Buddy has found almost $660,000 worth of illegal drugs year to date in Alaska’s capital city. The Governor and commissioners observed Buddy find and retrieve an ‘illegal’ packet of drugs hidden in the Cabinet Room by the detective before the meeting.
This is the second time this year that Governor Walker has donated personal funds to support the purchase of a K9 unit. In July, he contributed $11,000 towards the $40,000 purchase of a new K9 for the Wasilla Police Department in the Mat-Su Valley.
The Governor and Lt. Governor this year have been busy trying to fight the state's drug epidemic.
Here's a timetable for actions they have taken.
- February 14 – Gov. Walker issued a 30-day disaster declaration to allow statewide naloxone distribution
- February 16 – Gov. Walker issued Administrative Order 283 directing state departments to prioritize resources to combat the opioid epidemic and apply for federal grants to fund prevention, treatment and enforcement
- March 6 – Gov. Walker filed legislation (HB 159/SB 79) to change how opioids are prescribed & monitored
- March 10 – Gov. Walker filed bill to extend disaster declaration
- March 21 – Gov. Walker signed life-saving naloxone bill into law
- April 17 – Gov. Walker announced Alaska’s participation in CDC-NGA project
- April 20 – Gov. Walker announced Alaska’s receipt of $2 million in federal STOG funds
- May 12 – Gov. Walker announced kickoff of contest to name drug dogs
- May 15 – Gov. Walker announced winners of drug dog-naming contest
- June 19 – Gov. Walker signed SB 55 into law
- July 9 – Gov. Walker donated $11,000 of his salary toward Wasilla PD drug dog fundraiser
- July 25 – Gov. Walker signed HB 159 into law
- October 26 – Gov. Walker joined President Trump for public health emergency declaration
- December 8 – Gov. Walker and Lt. Governor Mallott announce donation of $7,000 toward K9 for Cordova and Yakutat