Lexington's police department hopes to have its officers equipped with body cameras by June.
The department plans to release a request for bids for body cameras and storage for videos by January or February, said Assistant Chief Dwayne Holman.
As part of the city budget for this fiscal year, $600,000 was set aside for the purchase of body cameras. The department also received a $120,000 grant previously.
Lexington police gave the Urban County Council Planning and Public Safety Committee an update Tuesday on the city's efforts to move to police body cameras.
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"We are thankful that we went as slow as we have because technology is changing so quickly," Holman said. "Nearly every agency that we have spoken to, they have all expressed regret that they moved as quickly as they did."
The police department has been testing cameras and storage solutions since April 2014. It will test another vendor in December.
Interest in police body cameras has increased dramatically nationwide in the wake of several widely publicized incidents of violent confrontations between police and members of the public.
The August 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., was a particular catalyst. In December, a grand jury's decision not to indict an officer in the videotaped chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York City further intensified discussion of the technology.
In addition to talking to and visiting other police departments that use the technology, Lexington's department looked at model policies developed by the national Fraternal Order of Police, national police chief organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP.
The department has talked to various vendors about costs, which can vary depending on whether the vendor provides software and what type of storage the vendor provides. The average individual cost per camera is $600. For 400 cameras — which would be enough for every officer in uniform — the cost would be $240,000. But Holman said the department is considering buying two cameras per officer. That's because officers are allowed to use their police cruisers as take-home vehicles. That means many officers respond to calls after their shifts end, Holman said.
He said the department was still discussing how many cameras to buy.
Many on the council said they were concerned about hidden costs with the new technology, including the cost of additional personnel — someone to maintain the system and for people to process open records requests for the resulting videos.
"We have no idea how many open records requests there will be," Lexington police Chief Mark Barnard said.
Holman said the department would have a better idea about those additional costs before the next budget is passed June 30.
Barnard said the department also was working on policies for how the cameras will be used. It has sought input from the Fayette County attorney, the Fayette commonwealth attorney's office, the city's law department, the ACLU and the NAACP.