Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $76,029)
The Alaska Department of Public Safety (DPS) applies for the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) reallocation funding for federal fiscal year 2022 (FFY22). Reallocation funds provide a vital tool in continuing our digitization of the Sex Offender Registration (SOR) records. The reallocation funding received for prior years and has allowed DPS to make steady progress in supporting the national initiative to make records more readily available to other jurisdictions. The DPS has also installed digital storage systems capable of handling the volume of sex offender registration records and developed a software package to support quick, accurate, and easily retrievable digital records. The DPS programming staff also developed a document archive system to maintain the digital records to store both historical and active records for easy retrieval in a centralized location.
Prior year grant and reallocation funding has enabled DPS to employ a full time Office Assistant working exclusively to prepare, index, and digitize the SOR records. There are currently about 3,400 offenders on the active offender registry. To date, the grant funded Office Assistant position has digitized all the active case files. Due to unprecedented staffing turnover and recruitment challenges, the Alaska SOR Office has frequently been without dedicated staff to process registrations. Other positions in the department were temporarily reassigned to assist with the SOR workload, and the Office Assistant position was assigned to digitize all incoming paper registrations, just under 9,000 registration forms in FFY21.
With the focus on active registrations to digitize during much of FFY21, progress on digitizing the historical case files was slower than anticipated. The historical files are primarily comprised of offenders who committed their offense prior to Alaska's registration law; however, the information is still needed to accurately assess duration should any of the offenders commit a subsequent offense or to provide to other state registries should the offenders relocate out of state. It is estimated there are 3,000 remaining historical files to digitize.
DPS is seeking assistance to continue funding for the full time Office Assistant position to continue the efforts to digitize the SOR records using the penalty funds.