Bardstown Police discontinue use of body cameras
The Bardstown Police Department has stopped using body cameras due to ongoing problems with the technology.
BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Bardstown Police Department has stopped using body cameras due to ongoing problems with the technology.
Bardstown Mayor John Royalty said he’s long heard complaints about the body cameras from police ever since the department first began using them in August of 2015.
“I do support a program, as long as the program is able to be kept up and utilized correctly,” Royalty said.
According to Royalty, with grant money, the cost to launch the program was somewhere between $25,000 and $28,000. Royalty wants to get new programs and new storage for the department. He estimates it would cost anywhere from $65,000 to $100,000.
“I want to get the best system we can, because that's for the safety of our officers and for court cases,” Royalty said.
Royalty places much of the blame on a research when the initial system was put into place by his predecessor and former police chief.
“I think it was a knee jerk (reaction), and it was done to be the first town in the state of Kentucky to have the cameras,” Royalty said. ”That is a policy that the chief and mayor should have taken care of, because they've been complained about since day one.”
Royalty says the main issue is storage and how the video is categorized when imported at docking stations.
“When they put them in the docking station and when they're downloaded, sometimes information is lost.”
Other times, he says, it can take an officer hours to find specific footage that is needed or requested.
On Tuesday night, the city council’s Public Safety committee voted to scrap the body camera program.
"With the help and support of Judge Simms because he wrote in his opinion that it needed to be done and I applaud him for that," Royalty said.
That opinion Royalty is referencing is an opinion by Nelson County Circuit judge Charles Simms in a case involving body camera video.
Judge Simms writes: "...this Court is compelled to note that the Bardstown Police Department needs to establish an appropriate procedure so body-cam video does not continue to disappear."
“Until we get the problem straightened out, we can't move forward,” Royalty said.
The mayor would like to have a preliminary plan in place about a new body camera system within 90 days.
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