Alaska News

Ketchikan police will begin using body cameras

KETCHIKAN — The Ketchikan Police Department hopes to have all patrol officers equipped with body cameras by the end of the year.

Deputy Police Chief Josh Dossett said the department has been talking about implementing body cameras for more than a year, according to the Ketchikan Daily News.

"What we're looking at doing is, basically, outfitting uniform officers — they're doing day-to-day patrol — with body cameras," Dossett said. "It does multiple things. If you actually wear it right or have it put in the right placement, you can actually get rid of some of your other equipment. You can get rid of your audio recorder, you can actually replace your dash(board) cameras."

The department previously used Taser Axon cameras during a one-month test run and money for the equipment has been included in this year's budget.

"We already are working with the members of the department, putting together a policy for when to use (body cameras), how you use them, that kind of stuff, so we'll have a written policy for the camera use that we're developing," Dossett said.

University of Alaska Anchorage and Bethel police departments are the only departments in the state using cameras at this time, according to Dossett.

Chief Alan Bengaard said the department has budgeted about $20,000 for 15 cameras, which will be used by patrol officers and detectives executing search warrants.

"Studies have kind of shown that (body cameras) help everybody's behavior," Dossett said. "When you know you're being recorded, whether you're a citizen or an officer, everybody seems to be a little more cordial, a little bit more on their good behavior, not likely to get wound up or get upset when dealing with each other."