'Bathroom Bill' enforcement, vehicle thefts discussed at Assembly public safety meeting

Published: Dec. 6, 2017 at 5:47 PM AKST
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At an Anchorage Assembly public safety committee meeting Wednesday, Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll said it would be extremely difficult to enforce Proposition 1 if passed during the April Municipal election.

The Protect Our Privacy initiative will perhaps be one of the more controversial items Anchorage residents will decide on. In part, it would require city-owned or operated bathrooms to be segregated according to a person’s sex at birth. It would erase part of an ordinance passed in 2015 that bars discrimination over sexual orientation or gender identity.

Kim Minnery, the initiative’s sponsor, has told KTUU in the past that the main goal is to protect privacy and religious freedom from government institutions.

Multiple Assembly members Wednesday questioned the chief whether the initiative would be easily enforceable if passed. The issue was first raised by Assemblyman Eric Croft, who asked if APD has seen any public safety problems as a result of the anti-discrimination ordinance.

“We don’t really track crime in that manner. If there is a reported crime occurring in a bathroom or really anywhere else, APD responds to those,” Doll said. “I don’t think there is any specific spike in some kind of bathroom-related call for service, but that’s not something we specifically track… nor do I really have a feeling that’s an issue.”

Assemblyman Forrest Dunbarr then asked: if Prop. 1 were to pass and someone was denied entry into a bathroom because they can’t prove their sex, would police be able to enforce the initiative?

“I honestly don’t know how we would enforce something like that," Doll said, "but I haven’t read the specific provisions that are proposed there.”

"That would be something that is extraordinarily difficult for us to deal with,” Doll continued.

The issue will be voted on during the upcoming April 3 municipal election.

The chief also updated the assembly on new numbers in Anchorage regarding the spike in stolen vehicles.

APD reports that although vehicle theft has increased by 57 percent compared to this time last year, arrests have also increased by 73 percent.

As of November 24, there have been 2,906 instances of vehicle theft in 2017 with 388 arrests made related to that type of crime, APD reports. The department also reported that 93 percent of stolen vehicles in Anchorage have been recovered with an average damage of $219.