Body camera investment good idea for Lexington
The value of the $600,000 for police body cameras in the budget proposed for Lexington-Fayette County was reinforced by two grim events in the last few days.
Saturday, in North Charleston, S.C., a bystander captured on video a policeman repeatedly shooting an unarmed man in the back. Wednesday night in Louisville, two police officers shot and killed an armed man.
The two fatal incidents demonstrate, again, that everyone — the public and the police — can benefit from video evidence of every deadly encounter of this nature.
Getting to that point will take a lot of thought, planning and money. Among the questions to answer: Which officers will wear the cameras? How and when will they be activated? How and for how long will the enormous column of video data be stored?
The $600,000 won't magically put body cameras on all patrol officers in Lexington, but it will move the city well along toward answering those questions.
It's a worthwhile investment.
Log in to neighborhood info with city's new apps
Remember Code for America?
In 2013, Lexington won a competition to get three uber-geeks to help make city government more effective and interactive.
Now, some of the results are up and running. Citygram allows you to go online, type in an address and sign up for notifications about nearby code violations, building permits or foreclosure sales. You can choose any or all of the categories and the area you want to cover, ranging from one-tenth of a mile to four miles from the chosen address.
You'll be notified by text or email — again you choose — when anything happens.
Another cool product is the Housing Dashboard that allows you to find out, by voting precinct, how an area ranks on housing-code complaints, nuisance complaints, building permits, foreclosures and average property value, and how it's changing year to year. It's a valuable tool to evaluate how a neighborhood and the city are trending.
Both are at www.lexingtonky.gov/cityapps.
Bravo to UK standout after triumph on big stage
Bravo to another University of Kentucky superstar who returned this week for a victory lap.
Reginald Smith Jr., a 2012 graduate of UK's opera program, is here for a few days after emerging from thousands of singers nationwide to win in the final round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions March 22. In addition to the $15,000 prize, the baritone joined some of the opera greats who have won the auditions since they began in the 1930s. He became the second UK student to win, following 20 years after Gregory Turay in 1995. Turay sang with the Met and other opera companies nationally and internationally before returning to Lexington to teach and perform.
Smith gave a free concert Thursday at UK and will be recognized today in a ceremony at the mayor's office. Then he's off to sing Sunday at Carnegie Hall followed by performances in Boise, Minneapolis and Houston, winding up at Wolf Trap in Virginia in June.
Smith, an Atlanta native, told his UK audience that people get tired of hearing him talking up UK but, "I'm a true Kentucky proud alum."