Do Kentucky state police have cameras in their police cars?

Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol last week. There seems to be some discrepancy about what happened during the DUI stop. I live in the State of Kentucky. I am wondering whether Kentucky police officers have cameras installed in their police cars?”

Overview of cameras in Kentucky police cars

Starting in 2002, the State of Kentucky began installing upgraded mobile video cameras in all of their police cars. International Police Technologies, a manufacturer of in-car video systems for law enforcement agencies, was contracted to mount the cameras in the cars to improve investigations, interviews and surveillance. Specifically, the cameras were upgraded to help with “videotaping crime scenes, interviewing domestic violence victims or surveillance operations and monitoring gang activity.”

Although cameras had been used by state police since the early 1990s, the improved cameras have allowed for a wider range of crime scene documentation and have provided additional more detailed footage for jurors to review. The police department argued the cameras have been especially useful for prosecuting DUIs arrests. 

Why have police departments increased use of video cameras?

You did not mention specifically what issue you have with police, but many suspects suggest that their traffic stops have been raced based. In fact, starting in the late 1990s with several cases filed against police agencies throughout the United States police departments decided it was time to take proactive steps to increase the public’s confidence in law enforcement efforts. 

One of the main steps departments undertook was to purchase in car video cameras which could offer an unbiased recording arrests. With the new video footage, the public could review what really occurred during traffic stops.

Proponents of the new equipment suggest that the installation of camera equipment has far exceeded expectations and offeres guidance and improvement in the following areas:

  • Officer safety
  • Improved professionalism and performance
  • Helped improve the complaint process regarding police practices
  • Improved public opinion
  • Helped agency leadership address concerns
  • Improved opportunities for training and development of officers

How have cameras improved the process?

Although there have been many benefits for the use of cameras, police departments have found the greatest improvement has been the elimination of complaints and the decrease in the amount of time that it takes to conduct an investigation.

For example, police departments note that at least half the time when a complaint is made it is immediately withdrawn when the complainant is made aware that there is a video recording of the incident. In fact, in many cases, all that is needed to satisfy a complainant is for a supervisor to review the video and explain the trooper’s actions.

What about the future of video recordings?

Although the issue of personal privacy is important and always on the minds of citizens, proponents of video recordings argue that cameras can be used while protecting personal privacy. 

Those who love the cameras argue that the benefits of the cameras- confidence in the police profession, enhanced ability to capture and convict violators, increased recordings of inappropriate police behavior, and additional capability to capture valuable data for homeland security- have far outweighed any downsides in their use.

Given these factors and the increased desire for security, it’s likely that the use of video cameras in police cars and in public will increase over the next several years rather than decrease.

What should you do if you have questions about your DUI arrest? 

So what do you do now if you have questions about your DUI arrest? If you have been arrested for DUI it’s likely you will need to discuss your case with a DUI lawyer in your state who is familiar with your state’s DUI laws.

If you have hired a lawyer or you plan to hire one they should be able to request a copy of the video of your DUI arrest from the prosecutor or the police. After your attorney has requested a copy of the video, you should be able to get a copy of it from him so you can review it.

You did not mention exactly what you are concerned about, but after viewing the tape with your lawyer you should be able to develop a strategy for your DUI defense.

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