Published On: February 12th, 2024Categories: Alaska News
The city of Anchorage has reached a legal settlement with the organization that sued it over the lengthy amount of time it took to outfit police officers with body cameras.
The Alaska Black Caucus, a local advocacy group, filed a lawsuit against the city in April of last year over the failure to put body-worn cameras on police officers, two years after voters approved a $1.8 million dollar tax hike for their purchase and implementation.
In a settlement filed Friday in state Superior Court, the city of Anchorage and the Alaska Black Caucus agreed to set a deadline of Aug. 1 of this year to require allpatrol officers to wear body cameras when in uniform and on duty.
Alaska Black Caucus President Celeste Hodge-Growden said the group couldn’t be happier with the firm deadline.
“That’s all we ever wanted, was to get what we voted for and that was to outfit our officers with body cams,” Hodge-Growden said.
Additionally, the settlement says, the city of Anchorage will pay the Alaska Black Caucus $5,000 and cover its legal costs from the suit.
Hodge-Growden said her organization is now focused on making sure access to the body-camera footage is easy and available for the public. The current policy gives the police chief the sole authority to preemptively release footage of critical incidents like police shootings before an investigation wraps up.
“The fact that it’s up to one individual to decide what footage is going to be released, if it’s going to be released, having to secure through a records request and the amount of money it would cost to get the footage,” Hodge-Growden said. “It’s just mind boggling to us.”
APD officials did not respond to questions Friday about how many officers currently have the cameras. However, in early December, officials said 54 of 350 officers had been outfitted and trained. At the time, Deputy APD Chief Sean Case said the department was able to install about four cameras a day on officers and their vehicles.