Former Bardstown Police chief at odds with mayor over body camer - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Former Bardstown Police chief at odds with mayor over body cameras

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Rick McCubbin Rick McCubbin
Bardstown Mayor John Royalty Bardstown Mayor John Royalty

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) - Rick McCubbin no longer leads the Bardstown Police Department, but he was in charge when the agency decided to get body cameras.

"We just did our homework, did our research," McCubbin said. "We were looking for the durability of the camera first and foremost, ease of operation, quality of the video." 

McCubbin says he spent six to eight months looking at different products before making a decision. 

His comments are at odds with what Bardstown Mayor John Royalty has been saying. Royalty calls the cameras a "knee jerk" buy.  

"They're just junk and have been from day one," Royalty said in an interview with WDRB News on Wednesday. 

Last week, Bardstown City Council voted to stop using the cameras. Royalty says they can't hold a charge, and some information doesn't download.  

He also points to a recent case where Nelson County Circuit judge Charles Simms wrote that the department "needs to establish an appropriate procedure so body-cam video does not continue to disappear."

Court documents show that the video the police department said disappeared was actually found by the defendant's attorney. What the body-cam video revealed then led to evidence being thrown out just like in another drug case from February. In both instances, the judge used body-cam video to determine the officers' searches were not proper. 

Royalty maintains that the body-camera program should be called off until the department can properly store the video.  

McCubbin says the problem could likely be fixed with a software update instead of new cameras. 

"It's technology, it's advancement, you have to keep up," McCubbin said. 

He says the body cams protect both the public and officers and that he never considered getting rid of them as chief. 

"Right now, I can assure you, if I were still out on the street as a patrol officer, I would have one. If I had to purchase it myself or wear a department one," he said. 

Meanwhile, Bardstown City Councilwoman Kecia Copeland says problems with the body cameras were misrepresented to members at the last meeting.

She says she's gotten a lot of calls from concerned constituents and plans the bring the issue up at a work session Tuesday night.  

Related Stories:

Bardstown Police discontinue use of body cameras

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