The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday night gave near-unanimous support to a resolution that will inform the body of changes to the Anchorage Police Department’s policies.
Assemblyman Chris Constant successfully moved an amendment supported by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s administration and APD leaders that states the police department will provide the Assembly with a quarterly report of any policy changes.
“I think that’s the piece that’s most generally agreeable — that APD will just tell us what’s happening, instead of us having to go dig through their website,” Constant said during the meeting. “That puts us in the position to drive the policy questions.”
[Earlier coverage: Anchorage Assembly considers scaled-back effort to increase oversight of police]
“APD remains committed to keeping the public informed about what we do and how we do it. This resolution was a collaborative effort between us and our community partners and is part of our transparency promise," APD Chief Justin Doll said in a statement Wednesday. "We wanted to find a way that was simple for the public to navigate and stay informed about APD’s policies. We appreciate the Assembly’s assistance as we worked on the best solution and outcome.”
The resolution, brought by Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel, passed about a month after she proposed an ordinance that faced widespread opposition from the body and was killed. That ordinance would have required Assembly approval for any changes to APD’s use-of-force policy.
When the resolution first came up, several members signaled opposition. Assemblyman John Weddleton moved a motion to postpone the resolution indefinitely, killing the proposal. That led Zaletel to argue there is no time to wait.
“If not now, when?” Zaletel said. “I mean, come on. I have to say, frankly, this is a baby step.”
Weddleton’s amendment failed. The Assembly deliberated for about a half-hour on the resolution Tuesday night, making some tweaks, including approving an amendment from Assemblywoman Crystal Kennedy meant to streamline the process of alerting the city’s Public Safety Advisory Commission, and therefore the public, to police policy changes.
In the end, only Assemblyman Kameron Perez-Verdia voted against the resolution.
Clarification: This article has been updated to clarify that the ordinance Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel proposed would have specifically required approval for any changes to APD’s use-of-force policy.