The Urban County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with the purchase of body cameras for Lexington police officers.
A final vote on the $600,000 allocation is expect in a couple of weeks.
Council members initially cut body cameras from Mayor Jim Gray's budget, citing a lack of information on access and management of data storage, and possible hidden costs. That decision sparked criticism from community organizers at recent city meetings.
Chief administrative officer Sally Hamilton told the council during Tuesday's work session that the city had found an experienced vendor who had alleviated some of the concerns about the long-term costs of storage the video. It will not be as expensive as the city was first told, Hamilton said.
Police Chief Mark Barnard said the city had promised the NAACP and others in the community that they would try the body cameras.
"Everywhere I go, I have been questioned about body cameras," Barnard said. "It's a public trust issue."
Equipping police officers with body cameras became a national issue as tensions flared over the killings of unarmed black men and teenagers during the past year, most recently in the deaths of Freddie Gray in Baltimore and Walter Scott in North Charleston, S.C. The officer who shot Scott was charged with murder after a bystander shot a video of the encounter.
April Taylor, a blogger and organizer with the Kentucky Justice Coalition, a social justice organization that works on racial and economic justice issues, said body cameras were needed to show "accountability."
"The interactions I have with officers when they think I am recording them are completely different in terms of the respect they give me and the legality of their actions," she said. "I don't get illegally searched, cited or arrested when the interaction is recorded. Walter Scott isn't an isolated incident. Had that guy not videotaped it, the entire world would believe the officer's story about Scott getting the officers Taser."
Lexington police were awarded a $160,000 federal grant to test body cameras. Police are testing two models, and have spoken to Google about storage and usage, Barnard said.
"For us it is a priority, because I think the community wants it, we think it'll provide better evidence in court cases and procedures, and I think it's an expectation of the community," he said. "We're supportive of it."
Barnard said that police cameras were part of a new wave of policing and that Lexington needed to be ahead of the curve.