The cost taxpayers bear to hold officers accountable

The cost taxpayers bear to hold officers accountable

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Police Department body cameras give the public a glimpse into split-second decisions made by those wearing the badge.

But that transparency doesn't come cheap.

LMPD budgets about $1.5 million for body cameras, maintenance and video storage.

"On the surface, yes, I think this sounds very expensive," Lt. James Cirillo said. "But it is hard to quantify how many times there could have been a lawsuit had there not been video."

Cirillo said last year the department spent $917,000 for all 1,000 body cameras in service. In 2018, 100 to 150 more cameras will be added to police cars.

"I think we have to always be on the lookout for those opportunities for cost savings for our tax payers," Councilwoman Angela Leet said.

Leet was surprised by the high cost associated with the cameras and video storage.

"It's an insurance policy for the officers and it also protects the citizen," Cirillo said.

Officers upload about 375 hours of video per day, Cirillo said. Storage is unlimited.

Right now LMPD has over 190,000 hours of video stored. That's about 21 years worth.

"There is more and more storage and iCloud space that keeps coming online so that supply keeps increasing and there is an opportunity to have lower cost," Leet said.

All video is stored and eventually deleted.

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Video accidentally recorded by officers is deleted in 30 days. Felonies are stored for 50 years. Cirillo said it's a lot of video that can make a difference in tense moments.

"The stress of going through an incident, sometimes you don't remember things exactly how they occurred, and that's on both sides -- the citizen and the officer," Cirillo said.

Cirillo added that the cost for the cameras has been consistent over the years.

Louisville's Metro Council will finalize the budget the last week of June.

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