Mayor: Police working to expand body-worn camera program

Mayor Linda Gorton announced today that the Lexington Police Department is working to expand its body-worn camera program to include all sworn personnel and some civilian employees.

The Urban County Council today gave preliminary approval to a federal grant application that would assist the department in purchasing more equipment.

“Body-worn cameras are essential. They are a tool every police officer needs,” Gorton said. “It’s expensive, but it’s money well spent.”

Lexington Police first began equipping officers assigned to enforcement functions with body-worn cameras four years ago. Deployment has increased since then, and now includes enough equipment for 430 officers across several units. Lexington has an authorized strength of 633 police officers.

The latest funding request is for $135,250 from the Justice Assistance Grant program and would help Lexington police with providing body-worn cameras to the remaining officers.

 “Our department recorded more than 300,000 body-worn camera videos last year,” Chief Lawrence Weathers said. “As this technology has become more normalized, body-worn cameras are something that the public and officers have come to expect. We are working to meet those expectations by equipping all sworn officers, including myself.”

In 2016, the Urban County Council approved a $2.6 million, five-year contract with Taser International to cover the cost of cameras and cloud-based video storage.

Council is expected to give the grant request two readings and final approval this Thursday, Aug. 13. If approved, the grant would aid in covering additional equipment costs for the remainder of the 2021 fiscal year.