Stanford council approves body cams for police

Published 8:49 am Friday, October 21, 2022

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STANFORD – Stanford Police Officers will soon be wearing body cameras now that they have the City Council’s approval.

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Kevin Moriarty, a representative from Motorola Solutions, which sells body-worn cameras for police officers, spoke to council members during the October City Council meeting.

Last month, council members heard about the potential for body cameras from the Stanford Police Department.

The Motorola WatchGuard body cameras come with a five-year contract. After 36 months, the company replaces the equipment.

Officers said the body cameras would help tell the full story and bring about a more positive perception of local police.

Stanford Mayor Dalton Miller asked about the durability of the equipment.

“Very durable,” Moriarty said as he passed around equipment for council members to view.

The contract also includes unlimited storage of evidence.

“There’s no overages, no surcharges or anything like that,” Moriarty said. “Unlimited truly means unlimited in this case.”

Miller said the cost of storage to other cities was why he was originally opposed to body cameras on officers.

“It’s not going to change over the duration of your contract,” Moriarty said.

Moriarty said once the five-year contract ends, the city can just continue with another contract.

As far as what is stored, that is owned by the city, he said.

“It’s yours, you own it,” Moriarty said. “That information, that video we do not own. That is your video.”

SPD is currently reviewing a contract for the body cameras, according to Police Chief Zach Middleton.

Stanford Councilman Eddie Carter asked where the cameras would be placed on officers.

“That’s up to the department,” Moriarty said. “They’re commonly worn in the center of the chest. They can be worn in the belt, if they choose, depending on their body armor.”

Middleton said where the camera is placed depends on the size and height of the officer.

If the equipment is damaged, the company will replace them, Moriarty said.

Miller asked how many cities like Stanford have gone with the WatchGuard Motorola cameras.

Moriarty said a lot of contracts were created before his time but he said Danville, Boyle County, Hardin County, Owensboro and more have similar contracts.

“Smaller, bigger, its the same camera and the same program,” he said.

Council member Bill Miracle asked if the police department thinks the body cameras would be overall beneficial.

Captain Ryan Kirkpatrick said it helps tell the full story of incidents, if needed.

“The issue we’re running into, why it’s become imperative for Stanford, is like he said, Kentucky State Police is getting them, Danville’s got them, Boyle County’s got them, surrounding agencies are getting them…where our main concern lies is if one of those other agencies pulls over on our scene and only catches us rolling around, fighting on the ground, that’s the only thing that gets submitted to court,” Kirkpatrick said. “Whereas if we have our own perspective with our own body cameras, when that fight starts, everything leading up to it is now captured…it’s our perspective out there first so that we’re not trying to catch up and defend something that we’ve done right.”

Moriarty said the cameras are worn to protect the integrity of officers and to protect the community.

“Transparency. That’s what they’re worn for, honestly,” he said.

Miller said the five-year contract is about $53,370, which is less than $12,000 a year.

“If we decide, as a city, with the council’s approval, to move forward with this, how long would it take to implement?” Miller asked.

Moriarty said delivery is 90 to 120 days. As far as implementing after delivery, it can be as quick as one day.

“I’ll be on site, as well as an engineer, whether it be remote or onsite for deployment,” he said. “It usually runs about half of a day to a full day, and we train the trainer.”

Miller said most of the cost could be covered by federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Middleton said eventually, body cams will likely be mandatory for police officers across the board.

“I’d rather get them sooner than later,” he said.

A motion was approved to move forward with a five-year contract for the cameras.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Council member Eddie Carter said.

Miller requested a new quote for 18 body cameras, to include a camera for a new Alcoholic Beverage Control officer., and the possibility of new hires.

The vote was unanimous.