An employee of the Anchorage Police Department monitors incoming calls at police dispatch. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

Two years ago, Anchorage voters approved a tax levy to purchase new technology upgrades for the police department. Much of the advocacy around the tax increase focused on using the money to buy body cameras for officers. But, so far, most of the money on the ballot is going toward a different project. Proposal,

It’s called the Anchorage Police Department’s CAD RMS Upgrade.

To date, the tax has been levied brought in approximately $4.8 million For technology upgrades, and of that, about $2.7 million has been spent on upgrades. That’s more than double the amount spent on body cameras: almost $1.1 million

So what is CAD RMS? CAD is an anagram of computer aided dispatch, while RMS stands for records management system, which includes paperwork related to arrests, citations, and other case work.

“When you call 911, the dispatcher takes the call to the 911 system,” explained APD IT Manager Josiah Jones. “And then that information from that call is transferred to the CAD, and they fill in some more information. From the dispatchers side, that information is then passed on to the officers in the field.

Since last June, APD has been working with the Hexagon company to upgrade its CAD RMS system, which Jones says is out-of-date and obsolete.

“It was first implemented in 1997,” he said. “And there have been some upgrades over the years, but it’s end-of-life at this point.”

Jones said, although the public won’t notice any changes, the upgrade will bring the system into compliance with federal reporting standards and incorporate now-standard technology.

“Just the capabilities of the system, it doesn’t have things like dynamic mapping that can show where our officers are in a live environment,” Jones said. “Some of that will be reflected in the new CAD.”

Jones said the new system should go into effect in the first quarter of next year.

Meanwhile, the police department is Going forward With the remaining tax hike buying and implementing body cameras. The company is set to vote on an approximately $6.5 million contract with Exxon to provide Anchorage Assembly cameras and related upgrades. Jones said this is not an additional expense, and is covered by the $1.8 million coming in from the annual tax levy.

“That’s the cost of body cams, video in cars and interview rooms over the next five years,” Jones said. “So the tax levy is going to cover that. It’s an annual amount that we charge as part of that levy.

Once the contract is approved, APD officials say they should receive an initial batch of about 30 cameras in the autumn, and hope to have enough cameras to equip all officers by the end of next year.


Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Contact him at wearly@alaskapublic.org




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