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Body Cameras Already in Use (Or Being Mulled) by Western Ky. Law Enforcement

John Null, WKMS

Kentucky State Police troopers are not using body cameras yet, but some western Kentucky law enforcement agencies have already embraced the technology.

The McCracken County Sheriff’s Department has been using body cameras for years. So has the Cadiz Police Department. But in March, all nine CPD officers got an upgrade with the latest TASER AXON body cameras. CPD Major Duncan Wiggins says the new cameras cost around $400 each.

“They have a wider view,” Wiggins said. “They also are a low-lux camera, which doesn’t mean they can see at night, but they see much like the human eye sees. So if a person is using a flashlight, it picks up really well. Also, the audio is impeccable.”

The cameras require a server to store the video that officers upload at the end of their shift. Wiggins said the server cost the city under $1,000.

CPD public information officer Scott Brown said that he’s a fan of the cameras.

“In this day and age, the ‘gotcha’ mentality that people have of trying to catch people doing wrong, a lot of people want to come in and complain on police officers,” Brown said. “These body cameras allow us to kind of protect ourselves.”

Wiggins said that CPD used sports cameras before receiving the new TASER cameras. Video from the older cameras was once used to prove that a man was stopped from trying to commit suicide by cop.

"Those kinds of situations are crucial, as far as documentation goes, especially recordings," Wiggins said. "If that had been a police officer shooting situation, we would have been able to see the appropriate action by the officers. Essentially, what we got to see was two officers saving a man's life because the video camera was on when it all happened."

Sheriff's offices in Calloway, Christian and Marshall counties are all currently considering body cameras, weighing policy issues and the cameras' costs. Police departments in Murray and Marion are also mulling the prospect of using them.

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