Attorney: LMPD body cameras helping settle cases quickly - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Attorney: LMPD body cameras helping settle cases quickly

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville Metro Police has had body cameras on the streets for more than three months and, though they haven't been used in court yet, Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell says they're helping cases. 

The pilot program started in June, but the cameras are now in five divisions -- including neighborhoods near Dixie Highway, the Highlands, and west Louisville.

"I think it's a good idea," said Reverend Clay Calloway, who lives in the Chickasaw neighborhood.

According to department policy, officers have to record any calls for service from a barking dog to a homicide.

"Cameras are always good,” said Calloway. “People don't always do what's expected of them - they do what's inspected. So when the eye of the camera's on you, they tend to conduct themselves much more responsibly, so I think it's a good thing."

Following an open records request, WDRB obtained body cam video of an LMPD officer changing a tire. Another video shoes police helping transport a citizen. The video has to be downloaded at the end of an officer's shift or the beginning of the next one. Police say officers can not erase any video.

"It’s secure,” said Major Robert Schroeder. “The officers actually can't access any of the data that's on the camera."

So far officers have recorded more than 30,000 videos. Schroeder says there don't appear to be any major flaws.

"The biggest thing I think we noticed is how we're docking them,” he said, sliding one into its charging and uploading station. He said the only major change they've made is in what they do with cameras wen they're not in use. “We had a brilliant plan for docking the cameras that turned out not to be the best plan so we revised that and we've got that deployed in all divisions and it's working spectacularly at this point."

The data could eventually show up in court, but it hasn't yet. 

"It helps us making a decision whether to prosecute, what witnesses we may want to talk with," said O’Connell.

O’Connell says body camera footage hasn't made it to trial that he knows of, but his office has used the video to settle cases.

"It takes the emotion out of [it] -- after the event when people's recollections begin to be one thing or another sometimes versus what happened right at the time -- and there is no better evidence.”

LMPD ordered nearly a thousand cameras but only about 500 are on the streets.

The rest should be up and running by the end of the year, following wireless upgrades at the remaining divisions.

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