Resolution 2020-11: Cody’s Law – Police Use of Force

WHEREAS, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) is an Alaska Native tribal health and social services consortium established by the Interior Alaska tribes and tribal communities, to provide a unified voice in advancing sovereign tribal governments through the promotion of physical and mental wellness, education, socioeconomic development and culture of the Interior Alaska Native; and

WHEREAS, As a percentage of total population, Alaska Natives and American Indians are more likely to be killed by law enforcement than any other group in the nation and are 3 times more likely to by killed by law enforcement than white Americans; and

WHEREAS, In the Interior Alaska, there is a need for transparency and data tracking the use of force on Alaska Natives by law enforcement to quantify the excessive amount of Alaska Native men killed by law
enforcement; and

WHEREAS, These deaths can be partially attributed to the lack of mental healthcare services for Alaska Natives, as nearly half of all AN/Al deaths at the hands of law enforcement are made up of tribal members threatening suicide or experiencing other mental health crises; and

WHEREAS, As state and federal funding for mental health services is particularly desperate, there is a shortage of professionals who understand cultural factors impacting patients, resulting in law enforcement often being the first untrained and ill-equipped responder to mental health crises; and

WHEREAS, A thorough review of current policies, practices, and tools used by law enforcement as an alternative to lethal force, including tasers and other nonlethal weapons, and recommended best practices to reduce the number of violent interactions between law enforcement and all members of the community would highlight areas of needed improvement and opportunities for training; and

WHEREAS, Legislation is necessary to install transparency within Alaskan law enforcement communities, to guarantee independent investigation of use-of-force incidents by law enforcement, to ensure that the civil rights of the citizenry are not violated, to prevent the ongoing abuse, harassment, and killing of men and women within Alaska by law enforcement.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Tanana Chiefs Conference Full Board of Directors supports and advocates for the introduction, passage, and implementation of “Cody’s Law”, to include: Mandatory Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) using the Memphis Model, incorporating medical professionals into 911 calls involving suicide, mental illness and persons in crisis calls within the State of Alaska; and The creation of a civilian review board comprised of individuals from diverse stakeholder groups; and The creation of an investigative body independent of any law enforcement agency, for the sole purpose of investigating officer involved shootings, police brutality and misconduct. This investigative body should be modeled after the National Transportation and Safety Board and subject to evaluation and monitoring by the civilian review
board; and The enhanced vetting of all new recruits to law enforcement in the state of Alaska and a comprehensive review of existing law enforcement officers including history of sexual assault, police brutality,
misconduct and cultural discrimination; and Consultation with the Alaska Native Tribes and the civilian review
board to allow input when drafting legislation concerning reformed policy and procedures surrounding CIT, background checks, reviews and the formation of investigative entities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Tanana Chiefs Conference Full Board of Directors stand in solidarity with the community in our intention to bring reform to state and local law enforcement use-of-force policies and to bring about a new age of transparency and accountability; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Tanana Chiefs Conference will submit similar resolutions to the Alaska Federation of Natives, National Congress of American Indians and build partnerships with other justice groups to obtain the necessary reform to end the unwarranted deaths of Alaska Natives at the hands of law enforcement.

Submitted by: Fairbanks Native Association


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