- Associated Press - Saturday, December 13, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Police agencies around central Kentucky are gearing up to equip their officers with body cameras.

Since the shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, and the protests that followed, there has been an increased call for police accountability. President Obama has proposed reimbursing communities half the cost of buying cameras and storing video.

Berea Police Capt. Ken Clark told the Lexington Herald-Leader reports (https://bit.ly/1xdRlN3) that department has used cameras since 2009. He says they let taxpayers know that police want to be open and transparent.

“A lot of times when we are investigating complaints on our officers, it was sort of ‘he said, she said.’ Now, when we have this video footage that takes a lot of the gray area out,” Clark said.

Lexington’s police department has received a grant for body cameras for some officers, and Louisville police will start a pilot project next year. Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott said the city will start testing cameras on five officers next month.

In Richmond, Police Chief Larry Brock said the department already has deployed three cameras and another seven will soon go out into the field.

“We kind of decided that was the way law enforcement was headed in the future, so we started picking up some cameras as our budget will allow,” Brock said.

University of Kentucky police officers have tested and evaluated several cameras over the past year. The department plans to make a decision on which camera to buy and start using them as soon as next month, Chief Joe Monroe said.

Clark, in Berea, said law-enforcement agencies from all over the country have called to ask about its experience with body cameras.

“They want to know the pros and the cons,” he said.

One concern is how to store countless hours of video footage. Berea’s system saves footage that is needed for trials while other footage is automatically purged after a period of time, Clark said.

Some officers were initially resistant to wearing the cameras, he said.

“So one of the things we had to do was say, ‘This is not spying on you. …If you’re a bad officer, yeah, you should worry. But if you’re a good officer and a bad person makes an accusation against you, it can save your butt,’” Clark said.


Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, https://www.kentucky.com

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