City approves purchase of body cams

Published 8:25 am Friday, February 24, 2017

Within the next couple months, all uniformed Winchester Police officers should be equipped with a body camera.

After discussing the matter a couple weeks ago, the Winchester Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the purchase Tuesday evening.

Winchester Police Chief Kevin Palmer said the 40 cameras were purchased Thursday, which will allocate two cameras per officer. The idea, he said previously, is one camera would be charging at the department while the officers wears the other one on duty.

“We’re looking forward to them,” Palmer said. “We don’t want them to be a distraction. It’s another tool on the belt.”

Palmer said previously all officers have trained with the cameras previously.

The commissioners also approved a policy for the cameras’ use Tuesday which requires all uniformed officers to wear a camera while on duty. The officer will activate the camera, either manually or when the cruiser’s emergency lights are activated, for all traffic stops, investigations and foot pursuits and other calls involving contact with the public.

All videos will be maintained for 60 days. The chief or designee will have the authority to redact personal information from videos for use in criminal cases or release through the Freedom of Information Act. The department will also maintain an unredacted copy of the video as well.

The cameras would cost about $27,000 and a year of storage would cost about $18,000.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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