Officials with the Kentucky State Police have no plans at this time to purchase body cameras for their troopers.
The issue of equipping law enforcement officers with body cameras has gained increased national attention following several high-profile deaths of unarmed African-Americans during encounters with police. KSP spokesman Paul Blanton says troopers were asked about the possibility of using body cameras after some field-tested the technology about three years ago.
“We had the troopers fill out a questionnaire to see if it was something that would assist them in doing their job, however that project has not moved forward into a next step.”
Blanton says while troopers largely responded favorably to using body cameras, the biggest concerns related to the technology are the costs, and how to store the large amount of video that would be recorded.
While state police aren’t equipped with body cameras, Blanton points out that about one-third of the agency’s troopers have cruisers with dash-mounted cameras that begin to record whenever the vehicle’s sirens are turned on. Those same troopers also wear body microphones that record audio of any encounters that take place after the cruiser’s sirens are engaged.
He says recordings of field sobriety tests can be especially useful when D-U-I cases go to court.
According to Blanton, the recent video recordings of police in places like New York, North Charleston, and Baltimore that have gone viral have made an impression on KSP personnel.
“Everybody in the agency is aware that, at any moment, whatever you’re doing could be recorded and published or put out on the internet.”