What Happened to the “Public” in “Public Safety?”

Body Cam Update

On October 4, 2023, at the Public Safety Committee Meeting with the Assembly (only a few short days after our op-ed published in ADN), Chief Kerle stated that 350 body cameras are being delivered and should be on 30 officers by the week of November 13, 2023. And then Body Cams will continue to be implemented as soon as the technology is updated in police vehicles.

 “As the vehicles are outfitted with the in-car video system, officers will be given the body cameras, and there’ll be continuous implementation until all 350 body cameras are on the street,” Kerle said.

ADN Opinion: What Happened to the “Public” in “Public Safety?”

On October 24, 2023, the Anchorage Assembly passed a resolution re APD and Body Worn Cameras:


Section 1. The Anchorage Assembly urges APD to publish a clear timetable, with objective benchmarks and appropriate caveats, outlining the implementation of the

BWC pilot project as well as the full implementation and deployment of all its BWCs.

Section 2. The Anchorage Assembly urges APD to conduct community outreach and education about the implementation, deployment, and use of BWCs including, but not limited to, usage of social media and in-person showcases of the hardware.

Section 3. The Anchorage Assembly urges APD to reconsider section I.F.3. Of 28 policy 3.10.110, Body Worn Cameras (draft provided April 2023), “Releasing Body-Worn Camera Recording, The Chief of Police may proactively release Body-Worn Camera recordings associated with officer involved shootings or other critical incidents before an investigation or criminal court proceeding is complete. Criminal investigative interviews with the involved officers, witnesses, and victims should be completed prior to the public release.” The Assembly asks this portion to be rewritten to create a timeline for automatic release, instead of relying on the current policy of proactive release, of BWC recordings with officer involved shootings or other critical incidents. This timeline should allow for the quickest possible release of BWC footage.

Section 4. This Resolution shall be effective immediately upon passage and approval by the Assembly.

If APD refuses to modify its policy, the Justice Committee will advocate for other solutions. One would be to recommend that the Assembly modify the municipal Access to Public Records ordinance, (Section 3.90.030), to allow public release of BWC recordings in cases of APD use of force on a specific timeline and without a financial charge.

Future Potential Projects

The Justice Committee met in person on November 7 , 2023, to brainstorm future possible projects that committee members and allies could work on. Our next meeting is scheduled for December 7, 2023 at the Mountain View Library from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. Any suggestions for issues that should be addressed can be provided to the Justice Committee.