Degree Programs for Criminal Justice Jobs in Alaska

According to a 2013 USA Today article outlining FBI statistics, Alaska is among the states with the highest violent crime rates. In fact, the rate of forcible rapes in Alaska was 79.7 per 100,000 residents as of 2013—the highest in the nation. The FBI also ranked Alaska second in the nation for its rate of aggravated assaults.

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Although Alaska may seem like the most unlikely of states to have a crime problem, recent statistics show this is anything but accurate. This highlights the need for criminal justice professionals at the local, state, and federal level who work in a wide array of capacities, from law enforcement and investigations to forensic sciences and corrections.

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Law Enforcement Jobs in Alaska

The Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center, which is housed at the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center, reported a total of 39 law enforcement agencies that provided services to 99.4 percent of Alaska’s population in 2012. Of those agencies, two employed more than 100 people: the Alaska Department of Public Safety (637 law enforcement personnel) and the Anchorage Police Department (511 law enforcement personnel). The majority of agencies in the state (64.1 percent) employed 25 or fewer employees.

State Trooper Job Requirements in Alaska

State troopers in Alaska work for the Department of Public Safety, Division of Alaska State Troopers Bureau of Highway Patrol, where they are responsible for:

  • Traffic safety
  • Impaired driver enforcement
  • Aggressive driving and speeding enforcement
  • Enforcement of state traffic laws and regulations
  • Youth driver education and enforcement
  • Occupant protection enforcement

To become a highway patrol state trooper in Alaska, candidates are required to be a United States citizen, possess high school diploma or GED, be at least 21 years old, and possess a driver’s license. Candidates must also meet stringent requirements regarding felonious behavior, and are shown preference for holding a degree in criminal justice, police science criminology, investigations or in other related fields.

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City and Local Law Enforcement Job Requirements in Alaska

The Anchorage Police Department is the largest police department in Alaska, as it serves nearly 230,000 residents. Police officers in the Anchorage Police Department may work as patrol officers or in specialized units, such as the Hostage Negotiations Team, the Bomb Team, and the Crisis Intervention Team.

Other large law enforcement agencies at the local level include:

  • Fairbanks Police Department
  • Juneau Police Department
  • Sitka Police Department

There are also a number of borough police departments in Alaska that oversee the State’s 18 boroughs. Some of the largest borough police departments include:

  • Fairbanks North Star Borough
  • Matanuska-Susitna Borough
  • Municipality of Anchorage

Requirements to become a law enforcement officer through a city or borough police department generally include being between 18-21 years old, possessing a high school diploma, and passing a rigorous written, physical, and psychological evaluation. For example, candidates for police officer jobs in Fairbanks must be at least 21 years old and must possess a high school diploma or GED, with preference shown to those with some post-secondary education.

Criminal Investigation Jobs in Alaska

Criminal investigations in Alaska may occur on a federal, state, or local level. Many criminal investigative agencies are organized into specialized units, such as:

  • Major Crimes Unit
  • Homicide Unit
  • Cold Case Unit
  • Drug Enforcement Unit

Federal Criminal Investigator Job Requirements in Alaska

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has an office in Anchorage that covers the areas of Greater Anchorage Area, the Valdez and Kenai areas, and the remainder of Alaska, as needed. In addition to the main anchorage FBI office, there are also resident offices in Fairbanks, which cover the Fairbanks North Star Borough, as well as central and north Alaska, and Juneau, which covers the City of Juneau and southeastern Alaska.

The criminal investigators of the FBI in Alaska partner with a number of agencies, including:

  • Anchorage Joint Terrorism Task Force
  • Anchorage Field Intelligence Group
  • Anchorage Safe Streets Task Force

To become a criminal investigator with the FBI in Alaska, candidates must be between the ages of 21 and 37; must be United States citizens; and must possess either a bachelor’s degree or relevant work experience in criminal investigations.

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State and Local Criminal Investigator/Detective Job Requirements in Alaska

At the state level, criminal investigators in Alaska work for the Alaska Bureau of Investigation. The Alaska Bureau of Investigation is responsible for coordinating and conducting all major criminal investigations within the Alaska State Troopers jurisdiction.

To become a criminal investigator with the Alaska Bureau of Investigation, candidates must typically first work as Alaska State Troopers for the Bureau of Highway Patrol. Likewise, criminal investigators working for the criminal investigations divisions of city and borough police departments must generally first serve as police officers for a few years.

Some of the investigative units in Alaska include where detectives are employed include:

  • Fairbanks Interagency Drug Unit
  • Juneau Police Department, Investigations
  • Sitka Police Department, Investigations

Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science Jobs in Alaska

Crime scene investigators are those professionals who are called to collect and preserve evidence at the scene of the crime, while forensic scientists are those experts who analyze the collected evidence in a laboratory setting. The evidence collected and analyzed is used in criminal proceedings.

Forensic Science Job Requirements in Alaska

Forensic scientists typically possess bachelor degrees or higher in such fields as chemistry, biochemistry, and forensic science, while those professionals in more advanced positions generally possess graduate degrees.

The major crime lab in Alaska is the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory, part of the Department of Public Safety, which provides a variety of forensic science services for the law enforcement agencies in Alaska, such as:

  • DNA
  • Biological screening
  • Latent fingerprinting
  • Firearm/toolmark
  • Blood alcohol
  • Fire debris
  • Drug identification

Crime Scene Investigator Job Requirements in Alaska

Crime scene investigators may work for federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Depending on the department or job title, crime scene investigators may possess an associate degree, bachelor degree, or even a graduate degree in criminology, criminal science, or forensic science.

Both the Anchorage Police Department and the Alaska Bureau of Investigation employ crime scene investigators.

Paralegal and Legal Assistant Jobs in Alaska

Paralegals (also referred to as legal assistants) work as behind-the-scenes professionals for law firms, attorneys, non-profit organizations, and corporations. Their work includes researching, interviewing, gathering information, and creating reports needed for legal proceedings.

Requirements to become a paralegal in Alaska are not always the same, but the majority of paralegals possess a (associate or bachelor) degree or certification program that is recognized by the American Bar Association, along with national certification. National certification options for paralegals in Alaska exist through the following organizations:

  • National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
  • National Association of Legal Assistants (Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) certification)

Because there are no licensing requirements for paralegals in the U.S. most employers require paralegal job candidates to possess some type of national certification.

Membership in a professional association, such as the Alaska Association of Paralegals, is also commonplace among paralegals.

Some of the largest law firms in Alaska include:

  • Jermain, Dunnagan & Owens P.C., Anchorage
  • Hughes Gorski Seedorf Odsen & Tervooren, LLC, Anchorage
  • Baxter Bruce & Sullivan P.C., Juneau
  • Burr Pease Kurtz, Anchorage

Correctional Officer Jobs in Alaska

Correctional officers in Alaska may work at the state or local level (There are no Federal Bureau of Prison facilities in Alaska.), and job duties may be focused on security, prisoner management, and emergency response. Corrections officers may work through a number of institutions through the Alaska Department of Corrections:

  • Anchorage Correctional Complex
  • Anvil Mountain Correctional Center
  • Fairbanks Correctional Center
  • Goose Creek Correctional Center
  • Hiland Mountain Correctional Center
  • Ketchikan Correctional Center
  • Lemon Creek Correctional Center
  • Mat-Su Pretrial
  • Palmer Correctional Center
  • Point Mackenzie Correctional Farm
  • Spring Creek Correctional Center
  • Wildwood Correctional Center
  • Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center

Candidates for correctional officer jobs within the Alaska Department of Corrections must be at least 21 years old, must possess a high school diploma or GED, and must be able to pass rigorous physical, medical, and psychological screenings.

There are also 15 communities in Alaska that operate jails:

  • Barrow
  • Cordova
  • Craig
  • Dillingham
  • Haines
  • Homer
  • King Salmon
  • Kodiak
  • Kotzebue
  • Petersburg
  • Seward
  • Sitka
  • Unalaska
  • Valdez
  • Wrangell

Homeland Security and Emergency Management Jobs in Alaska

Jobs in homeland security and emergency management may be found through the State of Alaska, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, which provides critical services to the State of Alaska to protect lives from terrorism and other major hazards, such as natural disasters.

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The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management responds to about 36 incidents every year.

Although requirements for homeland security and emergency management jobs differ based on the many positions within this agency, most professionals in homeland security possess bachelor degrees in homeland security or a related field, while professionals in emergency management often possess degrees in areas such as emergency management, security studies, and criminal justice.

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