The Village Public Safety Officer Program began in the AVCP region in 1979. It is a statewide program, overseen by the Alaska Department of Public Safety, and administered through grants to tribal consortia and one municipal government in rural Alaska. Through this program, AVCP recruits, trains, and employs.
VPSO’s are the first responders of rural Alaska. As dedicated public safety professionals, they protect their communities by providing law enforcement.
Officers also are trained to assist with:
Providing community leadership
Search and rescues
Emergency medical services
Probation and parole monitoring
Preserving crime scenes
Conducting misdemeanor investigations
Serving as school resource officers/D.A.R.E. instructors
To see if you qualify to become a VPSO, visit the State of Alaska’s Department of Public Safety website.
Housing is gifted to VPSOs by the local tribe. Vehicles are provided in some cases. Public safety buildings, including holding cells, are owned and maintained by the tribe or municipality.
“The presence of VPSO officers has a significant impact on improving the quality of life in the participating villages.”
Frequently Asked Questions
A: To successfully qualify for the program, applicants must meet certain citizenship, general education, physical, and medical/psychological requirements. They must also be free from all felonies, more than two DWI convictions, and certain misdemeanor offenses occurring with the past 5-10 years. To learn more about the current requirements as specified by the State of Alaska’s Department of Public Safety, visit https://dps.alaska.gov/ast/vpso/qualifications.
A: Yes, they are compensated and benefitted positions. Successful applicants are eligible for raises after completing training and their first year of service. They also participate in annual performance reviews where they are eligible for subsequent merit increases.