Advocate and police union president discuss community policing

Police Chief Justin Doll, center, speaking about the Anchorage Police Department’s new crime supression strategy at APD headquarters next to Capt. Ken McCoy, left, and Lt. Kevin Vandegriff, right. This image was taken in 2017, and officer McCoy is now Deputy Chief of Operations for APD. (Alaska Public Media)

The tragic death of George Floyd beneath the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer, captured on video, has sparked national and global scrutiny and concern over how police treat people of color. That concern has come to Anchorage.

Both the police union and the police chief issued statements after Floyd’s death, decrying the act that led to Floyd’s death, and emphasizing their commitment to best practices such as training in implicit bias, cultural awareness and de-escalation.

On June 9, the municipality offered a community briefing on police policies. The briefing and supporting material posted to the Mayor’s Facebook page covered the status of APD policy recommendations on banning chokeholds unless deadly force is authorized, de-escalation, warning before shooting and more.

“This policy was most recently updated last week as we watched the national discussion on best practices for police departments regarding authorized use of force techniques,” the police chief wrote in an introduction to the materials.

The police chief and mayor both expressed interest in hearing from the public and working together to better serve Anchorage. The goal of today’s Justice Alaska program is to gather perspective on what community members would like to see in community policing in Anchorage, and to hear the local police union’s perspective on the national debate over whether unions hinder police agency reform by making it difficult to remove problem officers.

The APD was not able to provide a representative for this program, but expressed interest in being part of a future program on community policing; we’ll invite them again. As always, your questions and comments are welcome throughout the program. We hope you’ll join us.

HOST: Kathleen McCoy

GUESTS:

  • Jasmin Smith, business woman and entrepreneur, community advocate
  • Sgt. Jeremy Conkling, President of the Anchorage Police Department Employee Association

LINKS

PARTICIPATE:

  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752 (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
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  • Post your comment or question below (comments may be read on air
  • LIVE: Monday, June 15, 2020 at 2:00 p.m
  • RE-AIR: Monday, June 15, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
  • PODCAST: at www.alaskapublic.org/hometown for free future public access