OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) Owensboro Police officers become the latest in the Tri-State to be equipped with body cams.

Officers demonstrated the equipment to Owensboro City Commissioners this afternoon. They were shown footage from the view from two Owensboro Police officers as they searched for a suspect in a shots fired call earlier this year.

“That video was a suspect on a firearm discharge that officers later located trespassing on local property, when they went to apprehend him, he then fled on foot,” explained Lt. Tristan Russelburg. He says officers started using the body cams in February.  The equipment was gradually added to all officers since then, joining Evansville, Madisonville and other Tri-State departments using the devices.

“We record all of our interactions with the public now, and if there’s  any questions, it’s on video. With our officers, the biggest thing is evidence. They can go to a court proceeding and they can show this is what I did on the scene, this is what the suspect said, this is what the victim said,” said Lt. Russelburg.

The city signed a five-year contract with Motorola Solutions to buy the body cameras. The city applied for a federal grant last year to help cover costs.

“The cost of year one is about $108,000. The ongoing cost, specifically with storage, is about $65,000,” explained City Manager Nate Pagan during Tuesday’s meeting.

Lt. Russelburg says there have been six requests for body camera video by residents, most related to collisions. While other departments around the region and country haven’t been able to buy them due to storage and other cost concerns, Lt. Russelburg says storage is cloud based, costs are covered as part of the department’s contract, and the Owensboro Police records department handles requests.

“Once they get those, they recognized that the video is able to be released, they’ll be able to go in, redact sensitive information,” he said.

Lt. Russelburg adds the cameras can be replaced after three years with newer ones as part of their contract.

(This story was originally published on May 10, 2022)