LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Jeffersonville Police Department is one step closer to getting body cameras back for its officers after years of funding issues.
Monday night, the Jeffersonville City Council unanimously passed the first reading of $522,000 in appropriations to wire up 75 Jeffersonville patrol officers, from ranks sergeant to patrolman.
”That’s a big ask for Jeffersonville,” Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said. “You know, we’re a city of 50,000 people and a half a million dollars isn’t something we readily have. So, this is something we definitely consider to be a priority.”
The money will be paid back over five years with new cameras added twice during that time.
Funding has always been the roadblock to get body cameras for officers, Moore says. He thinks the move is better for both police officers and citizens.
”This is something that I’m pushing for, our police are pushing for, our community is pushing for,” Moore said.
It’s not the first time Jeffersonville PD has tried having body cameras. The department acquired them in May of 2015 until a law was passed in Indiana requiring all footage to be stored for a minimum of 190 days. That made the program too costly for smaller police departments like Jeffersonville and Clarksville.
Their programs were suspended in July 2016.
”You don’t have enough space to store all this tape,” Moore explained. “So, that’s the software we’re using now. It’s much less limited on space that it’s going to take.”
The new Axon Body 3 system is used in departments across the country. JPD started a 10-camera pilot program with the cameras in May.
”This is definitely much more high tech than the cameras we were looking at just four years ago,” Moore said.
The cameras will always be running in the background, turn on when weapons are unholstered, and will capture the previous 30 seconds of video before the officer hits record.
”We’re doing police work here that is years ahead of some of the other communities, not trying to brag, just very proud of that,” Moore said. “We’re a very safe community and our police department is practicing techniques in 2020 that other communities, you know, are trying to follow.”
The department will have policies in place for any officer who misuses the camera or violates any procedures.
Moore says the goal is to fully implement the program by the end of summer. There will be a public hearing before the final reading at the next Jeffersonville City Council meeting.