• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 1s

UAA study examines officer-involved shootings

By Heather Hintze 7:29 PM December 11, 2013

In 45 cases in the past two decades, every suspect had a weapon; 40 percent of the time it was a vehicle

ANCHORAGE – When police shot and killed Carl Bowie III on Feb. 19, 2013, they said he was using his truck as a weapon after eluding police on a chase through South Anchorage.

Police Chief Mark Mew said he knew a lot of officer-involved shootings had suspects who used their vehicles to ram police cars, but he didn’t know exactly how many.

It turned out to be 40 percent.

That’s one figure that came out of a study by the UAA Justice Center, which analyzed data from shootings in Anchorage over the past 20 years.

“It’s a very dangerous situation,” said Dr. Troy Payne, author of the study. “This number starts to explain why the Anchorage Police Department changed their policy, tactics and training regarding vehicles.”

There were 45 officer-involved shootings from Jan. 1, 1993 to May 11, 2013. (The fatal shooting of Kenneth John on June 24, 2013 was not included in the study because it had not been fully investigated at the time).

In 18 cases the suspect used a vehicle against police. In 17 cases it was a handgun.

Payne’s report shows in every case, however, the suspect had a weapon. And in most incidents, they threatened to use it against the officer.

“We knew the kind of people we go up against when things get bad,” Mew said. “They’re bad folks doing bad things. They’re armed, aggressive and violent. We know that in our guts, but to see the number up here, to realize in all those shootings over 20 years everyone had a weapon and virtually everyone did something with it to provoke the shooting — that was significant to see that rise to the top.”

The study also found 70 percent of the suspects had a prior criminal history. Nearly half the time officers fired one to three shots.

Payne said one statistic he didn’t expect was when the shootings occurred.

“The typical incident occurred between midnight and 7 a.m. on a weekday,” Payne said. “This was a little bit surprising. Coming into this not knowing what the data was going to be, I would have assumed it was Friday or Saturday night. That’s not what I found.”

When he looked at the race of the suspects, a majority — 56.3-percent — were white. He said there is an overrepresentation of African Americans and Pacific Islanders though.

Nine of the 45 suspects were African American, which is 18.8 percent. Only 6.3 percent of Anchorage’s population is African American, however.

Pacific Islanders make up 2.2 percent the Anchorage population, but were involved in 8.3 percent of the shootings.

“Many of these incidents, they occur too quickly for the citizen and the officer to register the race of the other,” Payne said. “We have to be very careful when we’re interpreting what this might mean. We don’t have enough data to start drawing conclusions as to why this occurs this way.”

The years 2012 and 2013 had the highest number of shootings, with five each year. In 1996, 1997, 2005 and 2008 there were none.

Officers are called out an average of 250,000 times a year, and many times those situations can turn dangerous, Mew said.

“About 40,000 times a year you can figure we’re going to a hot call,” he said. “To have zero to five involved in a shooting is good news.”

Mew said the Anchorage Police Department is one of the only mid-sized city to compile data like this. He’s not sure how the department can use the data just yet, but hopes it will eventually help officers do an even better job protecting the community.

Click here for the full report.

Latest Stories

  • Lifestyle

    Scientists surveying, updating century-old seafloor data near Uganik Bay

    by Associated Press on Sep 30, 8:16

    Federal researchers are surveying the seafloor in Uganik Bay and west of the Kodiak Archipelago as part of an effort to update navigational information used by mariners that is 100 years old. The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports a 50-member crew is surveying the area aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel. The ship uses […]

  • Politics

    Nageak says he’s not leaving primary lawsuit

    by Associated Press on Sep 30, 7:56

    A northern Alaska lawmaker says he’s not giving up his fight against the state over his loss in the August primary election. The Juneau Empire reports Democratic Rep. Benjamin Nageak of Barrow had indicated in testimony Wednesday that he would be pulling out of his lawsuit. But during testimony Thursday he said he was unable […]

  • News

    Southbound Old Seward Highway reopened near Klatt Road

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 30, 7:44

    Updated at 8:08 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 30 Just one southbound lane of the Old Seward Highway was open near Klatt Road Friday morning following a crash, according to Anchorage police. Southbound Old Seward at Klatt blocked temporarily for officers investigating vehicle accident. https://t.co/1baPUN1sSc — APD Public Info. (@APDInfo) September 30, 2016 In a release […]

  • News

    ConocoPhillips Alaska sets drilling record

    by Daniella Rivera on Sep 29, 21:54

    At a time when there’s no clear end in site for plummeting oil prices, good news from the North Slope is rare, but on Thursday ConocoPhillips Alaska announced its set a new drilling record at drill site CD5, the first drill site in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPRA). CD5 is now home to the longest […]

  • Lifestyle

    HPV vaccine works even better than expected, study finds

    by CBS News on Sep 29, 21:42

    The vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which doctors believe causes most cases of cervical cancer, appears even more effective than believed, a new study finds. “After eight years of vaccination, the reduction in the incidence of cervical neoplasia [abnormal growth of cells], including pre-cancers, have been reduced approximately 50 percent. This is greater than what was […]

  • Lifestyle

    Emergency preparation: How to be power outage ready

    by Lauren Maxwell on Sep 29, 20:35

    Alaskans are always being reminded to prepare for a disaster, but an emergency doesn’t necessarily have to be an event like a major earthquake. Something as common as a power outage can turn into an emergency if it lasts for hours or even days. Art Nash is an energy expert with UAF. Cooperative Extension Service. […]

  • Crime

    Women sentenced for 2013 Midtown Anchorage murder

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 29, 20:27

    A 30-year-old woman was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the shooting death of her boyfriend. According to the District Attorney’s Office, Bonnie Degenstein was sentenced by Anchorage Superior Court judge Kevin Saxby, Wednesday, for the death of Ryan Tamborino. Earlier this year Degenstein pled guilty to manslaughter. Degenstein called police and told them […]

  • News

    On National Coffee Day, no shortage of stands for Anchorage caffeine lovers

    by Heather Hintze on Sep 29, 19:33

    Whether you’re a skinny, no-sugar, half-caff vanilla latte kind of person or someone who just likes a cup of joe, there’s not shortage of places to get a caffeine fix in Anchorage. “My thing is more the people,” said barista Haylee Bizaillon. “They could have really good coffee as well, but it’s the people that […]