LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Police in Louisville have announced plans to install body cameras on patrol officers next month, but activists who petitioned for the devices are questioning why they will be used in predominantly white neighborhoods first.
About 100 officers in the Fifth Division will be equipped with the cameras in June, The Courier-Journal reports (https://cjky.it/1IAauyi). The division includes the predominantly white neighborhoods of Highlands and Clifton, along with the Cherokee and Seneca Park areas.
Police Chief Steve Conrad said the Fifth Division was selected because it’s active, but not the most active division. The Axon Flex cameras will be used as a 45- to 60-day pilot program.
He expects the force’s remaining patrol officers to be given cameras by next summer.
Community activist Brandon Herring said the cameras should first be used in neighborhoods where more minorities reside. He said the demand for the devices was brought about by a grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, not to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black man.
“We’re asking for body cameras for a particular reason and situation that’s affecting our country right now, and that’s the behavior of law enforcement officers in communities of color and the disproportionate violence and misconduct that happens in those communities,” Herring said. “So a trial run in communities that aren’t predominantly those of color or minorities, I don’t understand.”
The city has ordered 988 body cameras from Arizona-based TASER International ahead of the upcoming pilot program. The Axon Flex cameras can be worn on the body or the head, record 30 seconds of footage before the camera is turned on and each costs $599, according to TASER’s website.
Information from: The Courier-Journal, https://www.courier-journal.com
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