Lexington officials debate addition of 75 'Flock' license plate cameras

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Posted at 6:37 AM, Nov 30, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Lexington city councilors defeated a motion Tuesday that would have delayed the purchase of additional license plate “Flock” cameras.

Police Chief Lawrence Weathers and Mayor Linda Gorton have been pushing for the addition of 75 of the cameras. Currently the city has 25 cameras as part of a year-long pilot program.

Weathers explained that even with months left before the year-long pilot program is up, they know it is effective which is why they want more cameras. According to the city, 95 stolen vehicles have been recovered with a total value of nearly $1.5 million. 165 people have been charged with crimes. Eleven missing people were found thanks to the program, Mayor Gorton said.

The technology allows people to track down cars in minutes, rather than hours or days. Before the program, the police department didn’t have any of their own cameras around the city, Gorton said.

Council members were not all on board with the proposal, motioning that the proposal be eliminated from their current docket or delayed until at least February.

“I am a little uncomfortable moving forward with this when we said we’d pilot it for a year,” Council Member Liz Sheehan said.

Weathers said the year long program was not a promise.

“You can’t know if something is working in just two months,” Council Member David Kloiber said, referring to the amount of time there has been the full 25 cameras.

Some council members expressed the concerns within communities of color about policing.

Weathers said he has not had anyone come up to him with concerns, adding what he has heard is members of the community asking about when more cameras can be installed and how they can get one.

Council members who agree with Weathers also shared their perspective.

“Our public is asking us to do something, our officers are telling us this is helping them and this is working,” said Council Member Preston Worley.

Opponents of the proposal to add cameras now motioned to postpone a vote on adding cameras until at least February. It was defeated 10-4.

The addition of cameras would allow the city to publicly identify the location of cameras, Weathers said. They are unable to make that available now because they feel it would be too easy to avoid the camera with so few in place and they wanted to make sure they get accurate data, he said.