The Lexington Urban County Council on Thursday unanimously approved a $2.6 million, five-year contract for 800 body cameras for Lexington police and payment of $37,950 to the Hyatt Regency for the city’s hospitality room at the Sweet Sixteen basketball tournament at Rupp Arena.
Lexington police officials say the new Taser Axon cameras will likely arrive in late June, when the first 100 officers will be outfitted with the body cameras. In total, 400 officers — those who interact with the public — will get the cameras. Each officer will be issued two cameras. Lexington police said they will have a press conference and educational campaign when the body cameras go live.
The $2.6 million contract also covers storage costs for video from the cameras.
A resolution that would pay the Hyatt Regency for the city’s hospitality room during the five-day Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s Sweet Sixteen tournament also passed Thursday without dissent. The city has hosted a hospitality room at the tournament since the mid-1990s, when the tournament moved permanently to Rupp Arena in 1995.
Lexington officials said they are working on an agreement between the KHSAA and Lexington Center Corp., which manages Rupp Arena, to ensure that costs are lower next year. The $37,950 price tag was higher this year because of a contract between Lexington Center Corp. and the Hyatt which says that events held at Rupp Arena and the convention center must purchase food from either Lexington Center or the Hyatt.
However, the contract allows groups to purchase food from sponsors of the KHSAA tournament. That’s what the city has done in the past, which has lowered the cost. The city was not able to do that this year, city officials said this week.