The Michael Kelly Award

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Kyle Hopkins

Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica

Citation

“Alaska is the size of Texas plus California plus both Carolinas, Florida and Maine.” So writes Alaska native Kyle Hopkins in “Lawless,” an investigation of local policing in a vast state that is also a “news desert”—a region that has little in the way of reliable local-news coverage. Hopkins found that in one small community after another, law enforcement was left to hire criminals. Hopkins’s work was supported by a partnership between the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network. The “stakes are high. The same Alaska towns that have no police, or criminals working as cops, are in areas with some of the highest rates of domestic violence and sexual assault in the country,” Hopkins writes. “Leaders in some communities,” he continues, “say they have little alternative but to hire anyone they can.”

Entry

Lawless: One in three Alaska villages have no local police

Dozens of convicted criminals have been hired as cops in rural Alaska. Sometimes, they’re the only applicants.

The last police officer

Looking for Alaska’s ‘rural’ state police force? Check the fast-growing Mat-Su-Borough.

Six ways to fix Alaska’s law enforcement crisis

Biography

Kyle Hopkins is an investigative reporter and editor for the Anchorage Daily News, currently working with the news non-profit ProPublica on a two-year investigation into sexual violence and the Alaska criminal justice system. 

Born in Sitka, Kyle grew up in rural Alaska and received a journalism degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has traveled to dozens of Alaska villages to cover crime, politics and rural affairs and lives in Anchorage with his wife Rebecca and daughters Poppy and Alice. He previously worked for NBC affiliate KTUU-Channel 2 in Anchorage and the Vallejo (Calif.) Times-Herald and St. Cloud (Minn.) Times.

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