February 1, 2023 (Anchorage, AK) –
The Alaska Department of Public Safety has released a draft copy of their body worn camera policy for public feedback. The new policy will govern the use of body worn cameras, personal audio recorders, and dash cameras under the title of mobile audio and video recording (MAVR). In July 2022, the Alaska Department of Public Safety was awarded $3.58 million in state funding and $938,000 in federal funding for the project.
The DPS draft body worn camera policy is based off of national best practices from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, US Department of Justice, and other similarly situated law enforcement agencies across the nation.
A copy of the draft policy, frequently asked questions, and photos can be found at: https://dps.alaska.gov/bodycam
Highlights from the draft DPS policy:
- DPS may proactively release MAVR recordings after officer-involved-shootings and other critical incidents once the primary interviews are completed with suspects, witnesses, and victims.
- DPS will retain MAVR evidence that is captured for between 26 months and or 99 years depending on the nature of the interaction that is recorded.
- Members of the public will be able to request copies of MAVR recordings after an investigation is completed and any related court proceedings involving the state have been closed under the Alaska Public Records Act.
- Describes when officers should activate a MAVR device to record evidence.
“The Alaska Department of Public Safety has been working for years to bring body worn cameras to our department and the citizens that we protect. Not only do body worn cameras increase transparency and trust, but they help better serve the Alaskans that we interact with every day, and provide undeniable video evidence for prosecutions and investigations,” said Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell.
“I hope that Alaskans will take a look at our draft policy and give us candid feedback and ways that can make body cameras better for all Alaskans.”
DPS has chosen Motorola as the vendor for the body camera project, the same provider of DPS vehicle dash cameras and radios. DPS has purchased 600 Motorola V300 body cameras for the use of Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, commissioned officers in the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Court Services Officers, and Village Public Safety Officers.
DPS will begin a pilot program in Spring 2023 which will deploy approximately 30 cameras to Troopers that service urban and rural Alaska and are currently equipped with a wireless dash camera in their patrol vehicle. DPS intends to begin issuing body cameras to all Troopers, CSOs, DFMs, and VPSOs later in 2023.
The official public comment period will run from February 8, 2023 – March 1, 2023. Alaskans or organizations that would like to comment on the policy should do so in writing by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
or mailing their comments to:
Alaska Department of Public Safety
ATTN: BWC Comments
5700 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK 99507