Crime & Courts

Anchorage police approach the end of a long-delayed body-worn camera rollout

Nearly all Anchorage police officers are expected to be wearing body-worn cameras by mid-March, more than two years after the technology was initially planned to launch.

Chief Michael Kerle announced the timeline for deployment of the cameras Wednesday during a meeting of the Anchorage Assembly’s Public Safety Committee.

The department began outfitting officers with cameras and installing in-car video systems for patrol vehicles in November. By Tuesday, 230 officers were wearing the cameras, and 279 officers will be wearing them by March 15, Kerle said.

The department purchased 330 cameras, which would account for full staffing in all the units, Kerle said. The department currently has about 50 vacant positions, he said.

The department began seriously considering body cameras in 2020. The technology is widely used across the country and is viewed as a tool for transparency and accountability.

Anchorage voters approved funding for body cameras in 2021 through a $1.8 million tax increase that also paid for an update to the department’s computer aided dispatch and record management systems.

The department initially said it aimed to equip all officers with cameras by the end of 2021. Officials have faced backlash over the long-delayed implementation.


Kerle said last year that the department needed to prioritize the dispatch and record management systems and there were not enough funds to purchase body cameras until 2023. Policy disputes with the union also delayed implementation, police officials have said. A compromise was reached in May and the department selected a vendor to supply the cameras in July. The Anchorage Assembly in August approved a $6.5 million contract that allows the Anchorage Police Department to purchase body-worn cameras,

Alaska State Troopers began outfitting employees with body cameras last year. The Alaska Department of Public Safety received funding for the program in 2022 and started providing a limited number of officers with cameras in May 2023.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at