Anchorage police chief embarrassed by long waits for police reports
Prepare yourself for a long waits if you are requesting a police report from the Anchorage Police Department. Chief Justin Doll says there's a backlog of reports and waits can be up to 10 months or longer in some cases.
"It's frankly embarrassing for the police department to be that far behind," Doll said.
The problem was a pain for Eagle River resident David Auman, in more ways than one. Auman says he was recently in a car accident and needed a police report to start an insurance claim to pay his mounting medical bills.
"I had to come up with $500 to pay for the doctor. And that will be more when the MRI happens because everything is out of pocket because I don't have the insurance paperwork," Auman said.
He added, "Just causes a bunch of issues that you can't have the information right away."
Auman said records officials told him his police report wouldn't be ready for a few weeks.
Doll says reports are processed in the order they're received.
"Of course we all know that over the last few years the city's grown. The police department's grown, the number of police officers. But the people managing the records, that section has not grown," Doll said.
APD says the most commonly requested police reports are for property crimes and civil cases. The department says there are 17 clerks to currently process 3,000 police reports. However, all 17 clerks don't work every day on reports.
Police say there are no delays in officers writing those reports. Doll says information gathering is time-consuming because information exists "in multiple places and multiple systems." He also says employees have to redact sensitive personal information and that is labor intensive.
The chief says APD is proposing some additional staffing for the records department in the 2020 budget. He also says the department is working on technology upgrades that will connect all parts of APD and make information gathering more efficient. He says if things go as planned, waits for police reports will be dramatically cut.
"Somewhere on the order of five to seven business days is where I'd like to be someday," Doll said.
But the chief says people may have to wait a year or two for that to happen.
Luckily for Auman, his report was delivered sooner rather than later. He said he received his police report late Thursday.
Others who've been waiting a long time for their reports might not be so lucky.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with information about the status of David Auman's police report.
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