As KMXT reported last week, the Kodiak Police Department has discontinued the use of video cameras attached to officers’ uniforms. That was confirmed in an e-mail from Chief Ronda Wallace.
Mayor Pat Branson, who was out of state last week, said the move was a surprise to her and the city council.
“Well, it’s an administrative and police policy. The council doesn’t get into that. And we are being presented with that information,” Branson said. “You know, there are lots of things that go on within day-to-day operations, although this is something that we didn’t know about, but now we will.”
Branson said when she was informed of the change to KPD procedure, she asked that the chief make a presentation to the city council.
“We will have that information as to why that decision made,” she said, “and then it will be made public, as well.”
Branson said the report will be made in open session, and not in a closed, executive session.
Video from an incident with KPD officers nearly one year ago is central to an ongoing civil lawsuit claiming excessive use of force, but the mayor said that denying video evidence in police misconduct cases is definitely NOT one of the reasons for discontinuing use of the police body cams.
“No, I don’t think that’s the reason. I know that that’s not the reason,” Branson said. “You know, there are different interpretations of why this happened and that’s what the chief will be addressing.”
The City of Kodiak is currently defending itself against two alleged police misconduct cases.
Though Mayor Branson has asked for the report from the police chief, it has not appeared on tonight’s work session agenda or Thursday night’s regular meeting agenda.