Knowles: Murkowski's comments an 'outrage'

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2002

I've vowed to overlook outrageous political rhetoric this campaign season. But I can't let go unanswered Frank Murkowski's attack on Alaska's law enforcement professionals and eight years of supporting victims, protecting women and children, and punishing criminals.

The Knowles-Ulmer public safety agencies are led by top professionals and staffed by dedicated, hard-working troopers, VPSOs, corrections officers and prosecutors. To say, as Murkowski did, that they are "hired and promoted based on political loyalty" and judges are "more interested in defending accused criminals than prosecuting them," is an outrage and demands an apology.

My administration's public safety record speaks for itself:

Alaska's crime rate is down 23 percent since 1995.

We signed get-tough laws to protect children and domestic-violence victims, expanded the use of DNA to convict dangerous criminals, and posted sex offenders' names and photos on the Internet.

We opened a new 400-inmate jail to keep criminals behind bars and 70 additional beds for juvenile offenders.

We repeatedly asked the Republican Legislature for more crime-fighting resources, usually to no avail. In the past two years, we sought 56 new state-funded troopers and got three, 14 rural constables and got four, 40 new VPSOs and got zero.

I'm glad candidate Murkowski now agrees with this administration's efforts to increase support for public safety. Alaskans want improvements, not shameful personal attacks on law enforcement professionals.

Tony Knowles


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