Body Camera

Anchorage Police Department And Union To Settle Body Camera Debate In Arbitration Next Year

The body-worn camera policy is still a point of contention between the Anchorage Police Department and the police officers’ union. They now anticipate entering arbitration early in 2019 in order to involve a third party in the dispute’s resolution.

At a Wednesday morning Assembly public safety meeting, officials presented the update. It comes after voters in Anchorage approved a $1.8 million tax levy to buy and use body cameras for police officers more than a year and a half ago. The length of the process has caused community members increasing amounts of frustration.

When officers would be able to view the footage from the cameras, according to Deputy Police Chief Sean Case, is the main issue delaying approval.

“The primary thing that we’re going to be discussing moving forward is general use of force issues, and when officers can review that video before either writing a report or providing a statement if there’s a criminal investigation involved,” Case said.

Officials from the police department have stated that they won’t make any additional comments regarding the mediation procedure or the policy until it is finished.

According to municipal attorney Blair Christensen, the arbitration between the city, the police department, and the police union is likely to be completed in six to nine months. An ultimate body camera policy would be the desired outcome.

Chief of Police for Anchorage Michael Kerle announced that the agency is currently accepting proposals for a body camera supplier. Even before the arbitration is over, according to Kerle, he anticipates beginning the training of the officers to use the cameras once the purchase is finalized.

“Simultaneously, we’ll actually get the cameras, train our officers, so when everything is done, we just hit the street going,” Kerle said.

Once the policy is approved, Kerle said he anticipates initially outfitting 20 to 30 officers with the cameras to “work on the bugs,” before issuing them to all officers.

The actual arbitration would start at the earliest in April, according to police union president Jeremy Conkling. He added that the union is still hopeful that the dispute over the body camera policy can be settled before then.

Read More: Are There Security Cameras In Movie Theaters?

Source: Alaska Public Media News

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