Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Help by taking the UA Campus Climate Survey and earn a $10 Amazon gift card!

Would you like to receive a free $10 Amazon gift card? 
  • Just complete the University of Alaska Campus Climate Survey!
  • This survey will help Justice Center researchers learn more about students'  attitudes and how students view the UA campuses systemwide regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment issues and campus safety.
  • Look for an invitation with the link to the survey coming to your UA email address starting February 15, 2016.
As a token of our thanks, we will be offering a free $10 Amazon gift card to students completing the survey. The gift card will be sent directly to your email!

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, UAA Justice Center, at

Monday, February 8, 2016

Justice alumni spotlight: Munkh-Erdene Tsend-Ochir, BA Justice '13/Paralegal Certificate '13

Judge Munkh Tsend-Ochir (l) receiving his judicial appointment from
the President of Mongolia, Mr. Elbegdorj.Ts.
Munkh-Erdene Tsend-Ochir, BA Justice '13/Paralegal Certificate '13, was appointed judge for the First Instance Criminal Court of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, by the president of Mongolia in October 2015.  This court deals with less serious crimes, in somewhat the same way that our district courts hear cases about less serious offenses.

Munkh came to UAA from Mongolia where he had earned a Bachelor's of Law degree in 2003 and worked as a defense lawyer. After receiving his UAA Justice degree, Munkh returned to Mongolia and served as the Officer of Foreign Relations and Cooperation for the Ministry of Justice where he was in charge of legal assistance and extradition and transfer of convicts.

He explained the process for applying for a judgeship in Mongolia which includes the following requirements:
  • Minimum 3 years of law practice
  • Minimum Bachelor's of Law degree
  • Passing a written exam on Mongolian law
  • Being interviewed by judicial council members
Judge Munkh-Erdene Tsend-Ochir, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
After passing all the above requirements, names are forwarded to the president of Mongolia for consideration.  These individuals must then pass a background check and be interviewed by the legal council of the president.

Munkh was born in Ulaanbaatar, the capital and largest city in Mongolia. He practiced criminal defense law, and later was a public defender at the Legal Aid Center for Indigent People. Ulaanbaatar is growing quickly as Mongolians move from rural areas to the city to find work, and most of Munkh's indigent clients were from this population.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Dr. Myrstol interviewed for Alaska Dispatch article on Anchorage Police Department's efforts to diversify its ranks

Dr. Brad Myrstol, Justice faculty, was interviewed by Jerzy Shedlock for an article in the Alaska Dispatch News about the need for diversity in law enforcement and the Anchorage Police Department's efforts to attract minority applicants.

Dr. Myrstol noted that it is "difficult for police to change those [negative] perceptions [of police work]. An important aspect of changing those perceptions is improving relationships with minority communities and changing the demographics of police departments.”

Read the article here:
"Anchorage Police Department, 82 percent white, tries to diversify its force" by Jerzy Shedlock. Alaska Dispatch News, 31 Jan 2016.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Dr. Blumenstein is panelist for program for UAA 2016 Healthy Sexuality Week

Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, Justice faculty, was one of the panelists following the screening of "The Hunting Ground" on January 20 and 21 on campus.  The documentary examined sexual assaults on U.S. campuses.

The program was part of the UAA 2016 Healthy Sexuality Week and included on both evenings opening and closing comments by Chancellor Tom Case, and representatives from the Office of Dean of Students, the UAA Police Department, the UAA School of Nursing, and STAR (Standing Together Against Rape).

Panelists at Gorsuch Commons on Jan. 20. Seated (l to r): Julie Dale, STAR; Officer Micheal Beckner,UPD; Bridget Dooley,
UAA Title IX Coordinator; Michael Votava, UAA Director of Student Conduct and Ethical Development;
Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, UAA Justice Center; Det. Andrew Cottle, Anchorage Police Department.
Standing: American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter Lou AnnPironti
At podium: Dr. Angela Trujillo, School of Nursing, UAA College of Health .

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Justice alumni spotlight: Officer Hannah (Scott) Ostrom, BA Justice ’12

Officer Hannah (Scott) Ostrom
Officer Hannah (Scott) Ostrom, BA Justice ’12, recently celebrated her first anniversary with the Anchorage Police Department (APD).  Hannah has always been interested in law enforcement and in the military.  When looking at a future career, she was not sure which law enforcement entity she wanted to join. But a friend helped her get permission to do a ride-along with APD and she discovered things were very different than what she had expected – and she liked the challenges and variety she saw. Her courses in the Justice Center often used statistics from APD and she felt like she got to know a lot about how that law enforcement agency works.  So when the time seemed right, Hannah applied to APD and was hired.

Hannah came to Alaska from Connecticut about seven years ago – she wanted to go “out West” where there were more job opportunities. At UAA, she first majored in Business then switched to Justice.  That made more sense because she was interested in working in federal law enforcement.  The toll that drugs take on individuals and the community is a big focus for Hannah, and she wanted to be part of the solution to that problem.

APD Officer Hannah (Scott) Ostrom by her patrol car.
Before joining APD, Hannah worked for a private security firm that assisted state agencies in transporting prisoners, as well as transports under Title 47.  Dr. Marny Rivera’s course in biobehavioral criminology really helped prepare her for dealing successfully with persons suffering from mental health and substance abuse issues – and she recommends that course for anyone going into law enforcement.  Hannah credits her coursework at the Justice Center for giving her an overview of crime and the justice system, and a good context for what police work entails.  She especially enjoyed her senior year capstone class with Dr. Ron Everett. The assigned readings took a lot of time but they covered a multitude of topics including sentencing, DNA testing and exoneration of innocent persons convicted for crimes, and financial crime and impacts. “The books were good reads. I gained more from that class than from anything. It was hard, but worth it.”

Her next step after being hired by APD was the APD Police Academy here in Anchorage– a rigorous program that includes report writing, criminal law classes, overview of different police units, pistol/rifle/shotgun practice, defensive tactics, and scenarios requiring application of the skills learned.  There were initially three women in Hannah’s class, but ultimately Hannah was one of only two women who made it through the program.  After graduation, Hannah began additional training with APD – a process that is ongoing for all police officers.

For the first few months, Hannah did field training observation with several training officers.  Now, after one year on the job, she is in a patrol car on her own.  She remarks that even though many women may be of smaller stature than men, they can be just as effective in police work – and that women are taught how to have a “command presence,” among other strategies.  She loves her job and especially appreciates that APD has so many opportunities for furthering her career in law enforcement.

One thing that is apparent when talking to Hannah is the amount of gear she is wearing.  All officers wear about 40 pounds of gear including, but not limited to, a gun, ammunition, a radio, and handcuffs. There are internal and external vests. The vests themselves are not light-weight and are made of bullet-proof materials.  Female officers have belts designed for their body type, but Hannah notes that no matter what, every officer – male and female - feels the heavy weight of their gear. “Body work,” she grins, “is a requirement for keeping muscles pain-free and in shape – whether it’s massage, chiropractic, or yoga. When I first started, I was told I would need body work, but I thought, not me – I’m young and in good shape. Well, I was wrong.”

When she is not keeping the streets of Anchorage safe, Hannah enjoys mixed martial arts and competes on the state and national level in Brazilian jujitsu.  She was state champion in her division for two years. And she is also a Pilates instructor.  Her job requires her to be in good condition, but she also notes, “I hate the winter.  That’s why I do indoor sport.”  Hannah likes keeping a balance of work and other activities, and stresses the benefit of both the camaraderie of fellow officers, as well as that of friends who are outside the field of police work. And what does the future hold?  Ultimately, Hannah would like to work in SWAT or in vice.  In the meantime Officer Ostrom is enjoying the opportunity to respond to a variety of situations in her daily job with APD.

Dr. Blumenstein interviewed by KTUU Channel 2 News about crime rates in Anchorage

Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, Justice faculty, was interviewed by KTUU Channel 2 News, about the recent FBI Uniform Crime Rates (UCR) report and a report from the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) about Anchorage dropping in "quality of life" rankings among other U.S. cities due to crime.

Dr. Blumenstein commented that UCR data alone give an incomplete picture. She notes that it is very difficult to compare cities using the UCR data and that the FBI website cautions against using this data alone to make comparisons of the levels of crime in a given area.

See the full story here:
"REPORT: Anchorage quality of life declines as crime rates rise" by Dan Carpenter. KTUU Channel 2 News, 27 Jan 2016.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

AJSAC Fact Sheet highlighted on Justice Research and Statistics Association website

The Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC) and the 16-01 Fact Sheet - "Alaska Trauma Registry: Trauma Admissions Involving Alcohol or Illegal Drugs, 2014" - are in the member spotlight of the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA).
The fact sheet presents data from the Alaska Trauma Registry (ATR) on numbers of trauma admissions, patient demographics, and the presence of alcohol or illegal drugs in trauma admissions in 2014. Khristy Parker, Research Professional, is the author of the fact sheet.

JRSA also tweeted about the recent AJSAC Fact Sheet on Alaska Trauma Registry admissions.

The Justice Research and Statistics Association is a national nonprofit organization of state Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) directors, and other researchers and practitioners throughout government, academia, and the justice community who are dedicated to the use of research and analysis to make informed policy and program decisions.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Tune in when Dr. Payne joins APD Police Chief Tolley on KSKA Hometown Alaska, Wednesday, Feb 3 at 2:00 pm

Tune in on Wednesday, February 3, when Anchorage Police Department Chief Christopher Tolley joins host Kathleen McCoy on Hometown Alaska to discuss his first months on the job, his initiatives, and his concerns going forward. Chief Tolley took over as Chief in October of 2015.

Dr. Troy Payne, Justice faculty, will also join the conversation as a member of the Anchorage Community Police Relations Task Force.

"APD Police Chief Chris Tolley Takes Your Questions,"
Date: Wednesday, Feburary 3
Time: 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Hometown Alaska, KSKA Public Radio, 91.1 FM

AJSAC Fact Sheet released: Juvenile Justice Referrals and Charges in Alaska, FY 2006–2015

"Juvenile Justice Referrals and Charges in Alaska, FY 2006–2015."
The most recent issue of the AJSAC Fact Sheet presents summary information on referrals made by Alaska law enforcement agencies to the Alaska Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) for for state fiscal years 2006–2015. The report, "Juvenile Justice Referrals and Charges in Alaska, FY 2006–2015," presents data on the number of referrals and charges made, and unique individuals referred to DJJ.  Data is drawn from the DJJ Data Trends website.

The fact sheet is by Khristy Parker of the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC).

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dr. Barnes interviewed by news media about APD's stopping live police radio feeds

Dr. Allan Barnes, Justice Center faculty, was interviewed recently by print and TV news media about the decision by the Anchorage Police Department to suspend the on-air feed of police scanners following several robberies. Dr. Barnes commented on the tension between the right of the public to know what the police are doing and the need for police to be able communicate securely with each other while safeguarding the public.

See the stories here:

"Anchorage police suspend online scanner after rash of robberies" by Chris Klint. Alaska Dispatch News, 13 Jan 2016.

"APD suspends public scanner traffic amid wave of armed robberies" by Dan Carpenter. KTUU Channel 2 News, 13 Jan 2016.

"UAA professor weighs in on APD’s temporary silencing of public scanner feed" by Daniella Rivera. KTVA Channel 11 News, 15 Jan 2016.