Concerns over cameras: Jail's security monitors go black

Steve Durham (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Steve Durham (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Tracy Dotson (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Tracy Dotson (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Cameras inside Louisville Metro Department of Corrections are sometimes going black. This, while the jail's leaders say they have other challenges that are not going away anytime soon.

There are 220 cameras throughout the jail, watching more than 2,200 inmates. But WAVE 3 News obtained photos of a camera monitor that showed several of the cameras down.

"Sometime a glitch occurs," LMDC's assistant director Steve Durham said.

"It's not all the time, but it is going to happen, it happened last year, it's going to happen this year, it's going to happen next year," he said.

Wednesday some cameras were out for about an hour. Durham said they were overheated by the warm weather.

"Anytime that's not working whether it's for 20 minutes or 21 hours, it's a problem," Tracy Dotson, the President of Louisville Corrections FOP Lodge 77, said.

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Dotson worries if something happens within the jail the proof or video may not be there. He said corrections officers don't have any peace of mind.

"For my members specifically, those cameras are irreplaceable," Dotson said.

Durham said they are upfront about the problems at the jail.

"It's overwhelming challenges for part of the operation," he said referring to challenges like drugs, an old building and an exploding prison population that's seeing 500 more inmates today than it did this time last year.

"That's like someone dropping, closing a jail in an adjacent community and bringing all their prisoners to us to manage. And you know what? We're doing it," Durham said.

He also said they are almost done upgrading all the cameras to digital and things still need to be ironed out.

"You want to know what we're doing? We want to tell them, come on in," he said.

Dotson wants the cameras fixed for good - no matter the cost.

"I don't think that a functioning safety and security system is unreasonable," Dotson said.

Wednesday, WAVE 3 News also learned the breathalyzers inside the jail were down. Durham explained one of them had motor problems, the other two were taken down for their regular service. Durham said they switched to blood tests so there wouldn't be any questions.

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