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County deputies may get body cams through partnership

A partnership between city and county government may lead to the sheriff’s deputies utilizing body cameras in the near future.

Tuesday, Winchester Police Chief Kevin Palmer proposed an agreement to use the city’s existing infrastructure for maintaining the cameras and data, while adding the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Palmer said the city would have to increase it’s storage capacity, but the additional storage is needed anyway.

The sheriff’s office would need to spend about $15,500 to purchase two cameras per deputy, though there are options to activate the cameras with the vehicles’ emergency lights.

“I’d like to see the sheriff get body cameras,” Palmer said. “We’re in a unique opportunity to help the Sheriff’s Office.”

Palmer said he has discussed the situation with Clark County Sheriff Berl Perdue Jr., and Perdue is on board.

“The sheriff would like to see it happen,” Palmer said. “If the Clark County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t get body cams this way, I doubt they ever will.”

Palmer said equipping the deputies would provide another layer of accountability and transparency.

“In a community like ours where two agencies work so closely together, it is essential to have redundancies if resources can be allocated,” Palmer said in a letter to city and county officials.

The Winchester Police Department started using body-worn cameras in early 2017. Officers are required to wear a camera while on duty and to activate it for all traffic stops, investigations, foot pursuits and other calls involving contact with the public at large.

The city purchased two cameras per officer, so one is always charged and ready to be used, as well as to provide a backup.

The city would pay about $2,000 more annually for the storage upgrade, Palmer said.

The proposed terms of the agreement would allow the Police Department to maintain the database, while the Sheriff’s Office would handle open record requests and release of those videos.

The Winchester Board of Commissioners approved the proposal unanimously.

Palmer said he would make a similar presentation to the Clark County Fiscal Court.

The commissioners also approved the first reading of an ordinance for a $135 million industrial revenue bond issue for Danimer Scientific to finance improvements and job creation at the facility near the Winchester Industrial Park.

Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said the bonds were for two phases of improvements to the former Alltech facility.

“To date, 118 new jobs have been created from phases one and two,” he said.

The company, based in Georgia, announced plans in 2018 to purchase the property and begin making biodegradable plastics, particularly for food packaging.

The city approved a memorandum to support a $110 million bond issue in 2018. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority also approved up to $1.5 million in tax incentives for the company as well as an additional $175,000 in tax incentives from the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act.

In other action, the commission:

• declared a 2014 Dodge Charger as surplus property.

  released penalties from payroll tax payments form CVS RX Services, Kentucky CVS Pharmacy, Catalent Pharma Solutions, Rolling Frito Lay Sales, Onemain General Services Corporation and Newquest LLc.

  appointed Kimberly Patton to a four-year term on the Clark County-Winchester Heritage Commission.

• appointed Todd Blanton to a one-year term on the Winchester Licensing Board.

• reappointed David Lawrence and Roy Hudson to one-year terms on the Winchester Licensing Board.

  reappointed Charles Embry to a four-year term on the Housing Authority of Winchester.

  reappointed Sue Anderson to a four-year term on the Clark County-Winchester Heritage Commission.

• terminated the six-month contract of interim city manager Mike Flynn, following his hiring as the permanent city manager.

• reclassified Jeffrey Frazier from part-time patient transfer specialist/EMT to full-time single role EMT.

• approved a request to apply for a fiscal year 2022 grant for the Lower Howard’s Creek Watershed Plan implementation project.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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