Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council votes to expand flock camera program

Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council votes to expand flock camera program
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 10:04 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - After weeks of heated debate, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council voted to expand its License Plate Reader program.

The Lexington Police Department will add 75 flock cameras around the city, increasing the total to 100. The city will spend a quarter of a million dollars on the additional cameras.

“I’ve sat through tough family meetings. Meetings with the victims where they’ve asked for us to do more. They’ve never asked for us to do less,” Detective Tyson Carroll said.

Carroll oversees the License Plate Reader program. Carroll says they were able to catch a suspect in a sexual assault case using footage from a private surveillance camera and then the flock cameras once they had the suspect’s vehicle description.

“We were able to identify the vehicle, give that lead to investigators for them to corroborate, investigate, then arrest the suspect for that. We can’t say if that prevents more crimes,” Carroll said. “But that person isn’t out there to do that crime again.”

While a few detectives spoke in favor of the cameras, several people spoke against them, including Amber Duke, the Interim Executive Director of the ACLU of Kentucky.

“The ACLU of Kentucky recommends the council allot more time for information gathering and discussion before moving this expansion request forward,” Duke said.

A sentiment shared by many opponents of the additional cameras. Most asked to see more data of crimes solved from the original 25 cameras installed. Others question why the locations of the original cameras were never released and worry they’ve been placed in neighborhoods where people of color predominantly live.

“We must combat crime with evidence-based programs and investments that address its root causes, which are poverty, housing insecurity, access to physical and mental healthcare, childcare, and more,” Duke said.

The Council voted 10-4 for the expansion. The Four council members who voted against the expansion were David Kloiber, Hannah Legris, Jennifer Reynolds and Vice Mayor Steve Kay.

The cameras are leased, so the police department will have to ask for more funding from council yearly.

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