Alaska Department of Public Safety releases draft copy of body cam policy

Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) – The Alaska Department of Public Safety released a draft of its body cam policy for public comment February 8-March 1, 2023.

The new policy regulates the use of body-worn cameras, personal audio recorders and dashcams under the title Mobile Audio and Video Recording (MAVR). In July 2022, the Alaska Department of Public Safety received $3.58 million in state funding and $938,000 in federal funding for the project.

“The Alaska Department of Public Safety has worked for years to make body-worn cameras available to our department and the citizens we protect. Body-worn cameras not only increase transparency and trust, but also help better serve the Alaskans we deal with every day and provide undeniable video evidence for law enforcement and investigations,” said James Cockrell, Commissioner for public safety of alaska. “I hope Alaskans will take a look at our draft policy and give us honest feedback and ways in which body cameras can be made better for all Alaskans.”

Highlights of the new policy include:

• DPS can proactively release MAVR recordings following shootings involving officers and other critical incidents once primary interviews with suspects, witnesses and victims are complete.
• DPS retains MAVR evidence collected between 26 months and/or 99 years depending on the type of interaction recorded.
• Members of the public may request copies of MAVR records after an investigation is complete and all related legal proceedings involving the state have been resolved under the Alaska Public Records Act.
• Describes when officers should activate a MAVR device to record evidence.

The draft DPS policy for body-worn cameras is based on national best practices from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the US Department of Justice and other similarly structured law enforcement agencies across the country.

DPS will begin a pilot program in spring 2023 using approximately 30 cameras for Troopers servicing urban and rural Alaska who are currently equipped with a wireless dash cam in their patrol vehicle. DPS intends to begin issuing body cameras to all Troopers, CSOs, DFMs and VPSOs later in 2023.

The official comment period is February 8 through March 1, 2023. Comments on the Policy may be emailed to [email protected] or mailed to the following address:

Alaska’s Department of Public Safety
5700 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK 99507

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