University of Louisville police officers to get body cameras thi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

University of Louisville police officers to get body cameras this month

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LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – Joining a nationwide trend, the University of Louisville Police Department has spent $42,000 to equip all 45 of its officers with body cameras, which they are expected to start wearing in the next few weeks.

After more than a year of research and planning, UofL police are putting the final touches on a body camera policy and training officers on how and when to use the cameras.

“It’s important for officers to be able to document what took place,” UofL Police Chief Wayne Hall said, noting how instrumental video from a business surveillance camera was in understanding what happened in the June shooting death of 35-year-old Deng Manyoun by an LMPD officer at the corner of 4th and Oak in Old Louisville.

“From the literature I’ve read, officer complaints drop dramatically when you have the cameras,” Hall said. “I hope this will help us. If we get complaints from citizens, we can view video and take appropriate action from there.”

And it will help strengthen court cases by better documenting crime scenes in real time, he said.

Hall said the body cameras will record all interactions with the public, with possibly a few exceptions, like if a citizen asks that they not be recorded or when juveniles are involved.

“We have some provisions in our policy but sometimes that may just be an officer decision,” Hall said. He declined to provide WDRB with a copy of the policy, saying it was still preliminary.

The department will destroy the recordings after 30 days unless the video may be used in a court case or is requested under the Kentucky Open Records law.

Meant to provide an indisputable record of police actions that safeguard citizens and officers alike, body cameras are at the center of a national policing debate.

At least eight police and sheriff's agencies in Kentucky already deploy the technology, although policies vary widely. College campuses are taking notice as well. Hall said Murray State University police already have body cameras.

Louisville Metro Police have deployed body cameras in the 1st, Second and Fifth divisions and most of the 3rd and fourth divisions. All 988 cameras are expected to be distributed to LMPD officers by the end of the year, said Alicia Smiley, a spokeswoman for the department.

UofL police, which has county-wide jurisdiction, paid for 50 body cameras - five extras - out of the department’s general fund and will have to also pay about $3,500 a year to store the video.

Hall said the reaction from officers in his department has "all been positive."

 "They are looking forward to having that documentation."

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