BGPD body cameras approved

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Tonight was Christmas in September for the Bowling Green Police Department.

BGPD went before city commission to ask for approval to purchase some new technology.

City commission approved the purchase of 10 new Dodge Chargers, and possible one Nissan Rogue to become police vehicles.

To top it off, the BGPD will be able to buy body-worn cameras for their officers, to help capture interactions with individuals and police.

"That creates a great deal of transparency for our law enforcement," says Chief Doug Hawkins.

Body cams are not new technology, but they have been evolving. Hawkins says he was waiting for the best time to adopt this practice for both his department and the tax-payer.

"A lot of agencies adopted that technology too soon, because they didn't let the technology ripen," he explains. "What we wanted to do was invest in the right time, when the technology was right. If you invest too soon, you basically waste your money."

Mayor Bruce Wilkerson says while body cams are not perfect, it is a great step toward fairness in the judicial system.

"A lot of times complaints come in, and it's like a he said/she said situation," he went on. "This can provide protection for the officer as well as for the individual."

He believes that not only will police officers be held accountable, but so will the every-day citizen.

"When the officer wears that camera, they know there's essentially somebody watching over there shoulder, and the citizen should know that they're on camera as well."

The cost of the cameras and accessories will be no more than $75,170. An additional $73,221 will be needed to purchase storage space to keep footage from the cameras.

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