LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The most powerful tool to keep inmates in line may not be handcuffs or a gun. The Louisville Metro Department of Corrections is going high tech to handle some of the most violent confrontations inside the jail. Video cameras are now recording those incidents to protect correction officers and your money.
When inmates go wild at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections officers typically arrive wearing full riot gear, and they are always there in full HD.
Sgt. Steven Gilbert, assistant commander of the Special Operations Response Team said corrections officers record "everything. From the moment we step on the floor, cameras are rolling."
The video was key during an incident in October 2012, when an inmate was upset because he mistakenly thought he was getting released that day. He started screaming and slamming his head into the door when he found out, he wasn't.
Corrections officers made sure the video was rolling as they prepared to enter the cell. The recording shows blood on the cell door window was there before officers ever stepped inside.
That's important because before too long the inmate starts to accuse corrections officers of abuse.
"You're going to break my back," the inmate screams as corrections officers strap him into a restraint chair.
His attitude changes when he sees it's all being recorded.
"How ya doing there on camera?" the inmate calls out to the corrections officer holding the hand held camera. "Can my mommy get a copy of this?"
Sgt. Gilbert said these days cameras are the equalizer if an inmate claims officers used unnecessary force.
"It gets rid of all the he said she said stuff," Sgt. Gilbert said.
After every incident, inmates are checked out by a corrections nurse. That assessment is also recorded.
The system has kept Louisville Metro Corrections, and taxpayers, clear of frivolous lawsuits. Court records reveal Metro Corrections has not lost any court judgements as a result of restraining unruly inmates. There are no recent cases where the SORT team has even been sued.
Lt. Jerry Collins said corrections officers make a point to narrate their actions, and the inmates actions, throughout the videos.
"So if it was to the point we have to go to court on this or we get sued on this, we're protecting the department, protecting the city," Lt. Collins said.
Inmates, knowing it's hard to make a case, when the evidence is right there in living color.
The cameras are working so well corrections just got a $10,500 from the Prison Rape Elimination Act to buy 12 Veivu body cameras for officers to go along with the ones they are already using to record clashes with violent inmates.
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