The Anchorage Police Department has changed how it handles minor accidents, with drivers rather than police officers writing up reports for crashes like fender-benders. Officers are now making sure drivers exchange information cards.
“It’s something that the (state) troopers have been doing for a while -- the easier access to the reports makes it easier for the citizens as well,” said APD Deputy Chief Steven Hebbe. “I think once people understand it, we haven’t had too many problems.”
APD says it began enforcing the new policy at the beginning of October.
“When we get a call we still dispatch officers over,” Hebbe said. “Officers respond to the scene and insure there is no injuries to anybody and insure that there is no crime that’s taken place.”
Under the old system, in which officers wrote up all accident reports, people could be left waiting for up to a week.
“Ordinarily the police report would go through our records division, so our non-sworn-in staff would be handling it. Then it would be back to a supervisor that would review the report,” Hebbe said. “That would probably take a citizen two or three days to get an accident report through; this way it’s available to them immediately when they submit it.”
Gary Annis with State Farm Insurance says the change will save time for both police officers and drivers.
“I think it’s a great idea, so the police can go on their way and the individuals can report the claim online to the state and they can also do their certificate of insurance to the state online too,” said Annis.
In the end, Annis says it’s about speeding up the process.
“I think the greater benefit is the efficiency now that’s going to be giving back to our police department,” Annis said.
Contact Caslon Hatch