Kenai loads cop cars with cameras

Posted: Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Every Kenai Police Department patrol vehicle soon will be equipped with a digital video camera, thanks to a $27,000 grant approved by the Alaska Highway Safety Office.

The equipment will be used to improve the documentation of evidence in driving-while-intoxicated arrests, according to a police statement.

"Our officers will be able to make videos during DWI arrests and, if need be, they'll be able to use the cameras to make digital still photos for evidence," said Sgt. Scott McBride on Monday.

"It's my understanding that we are now the only department in the state that has all of its patrol vehicles equipped with a digital video camera," McBride said.

In 2002, Kenai police made 142 DWI arrests and alcohol was a factor in 20 accidents that resulted in serious injury to 11 people and 17 arrests.

According to Kenai police, the average breath-alcohol level for drivers involved in the accidents was .201. In Alaska, a person is considered to be driving while intoxicated if his or her breath-alcohol content is .08 or more.

McBride said the grant totaled $27,461, of which $24,876 was provided by the federal government, with the balance being matched by the city.

"Reducing accidents related to alcohol and other intoxicants is a high priority for the Kenai Police Department," a prepared statement read.

"The financial and emotional burden of these crashes is shared by all segments of the community."

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