LMDC sees positive effects of officer-worn body cameras

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WHAS11.com

Posted on July 11, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 11 at 5:42 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- They show all and keep everyone honest and officials say they even save taxpayers money.  We're talking about body cameras used by law enforcement. They are relatively new in Kentuckiana, but so far authorities say they are making a big difference.

Whether you are patrolling the streets or handling inmates in jail, you never know what is going to happen.

“First of all don't threaten me,” said one Metro Corrections officer as he was booking an inmate. “Well come hit me then. You want some come on and get some,” responded the inmate.

From threats to restraints, anything can happen when you are in uniform.

“What do you want? What do you want?,” said an inmate who officers were trying to get a breathalyzer test from. “Don't get in my face. I’m telling you right now do not get in my face,” replied a Metro Corrections officer.

Louisville Metro Corrections Jail officers have worn cameras for about a year and leaders at the jail say the cameras have exceeded their expectations

“In my dream world I would have our 500 plus officers fitted with one and I think eventually we'll get there. My plan is to acquire about 40 more of these during this fiscal year,” said Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton.

Right now corrections has 17 body cameras. They plan to reallocate money to fund more.
Each camera costs $850

“When you talk about law enforcement, it's a high liability business, but it protects the officer, holds the officer at a higher standard,” said Lt. Jerry Collins, Metro Corrections.

Those at corrections say the cameras save taxpayers money on 'he said,' 'she said' litigation.

Lawsuits can be cleared up quickly when there is visible evidence of exactly how inmates are treated.

“If we have evidence to temper that litigation it ends up being a cost savings technology we bring to the table and certainly everybody wants to do the right thing,” said Bolton.

The body cameras captured an inmate who had to be restrained for his safety.
With the video proof, there is no question about what happened.

“How do you think I feel!,” screamed an inmate. “I don't want pictures. No pictures! Ahhhhhh.”

Another video shows an inmate trying to hurt himself.  He pulled down a piece of the overhead lighting, was cutting himself and tried to smash out the doorway window.

“You have to talk to me, bud,” said one corrections officer. “Why are you being this way?”
"Cause I can and there is nothing you can do to stop me,” replied the inmate.

Another view of what happens in a world that many residents don't know about.

The Louisville Metro Police Department is looking into the possibility of getting body cameras.  WHAS11 also talked to those with the Bullitt County Sheriff’s Department.  They said they got body cameras about nine months ago and they have been highly effective in stopping complaints and helped to solidify numerous cases in court.

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