With money available from a delayed project, Winchester Police Chief Kevin Palmer is looking to initiate a new plan involving the possible purchase and installation of cameras at intersections around Winchester.
The Winchester Board of Commissioners approved Palmer beginning work on the project at a meeting Tuesday. The meeting was a special meeting called in place of the cancelled Jan. 1 regular meeting.
Palmer wants to install four cameras to begin making a circle around the city. This would help when accidents on Interstate 64 force traffic to be routed through Winchester, during times of severe weather and with investigations.
Commissioner Shannon Cox expressed concern over tickets being mailed to citizens for traffic violations, but Palmer explained that state law doesn’t allow that. Law enforcement officials must see the infraction, he said.
Commissioner Rick Beach said he liked the idea but had questions about how the internet worked in relation to the cameras.
“We have to have an Internet source,” Palmer said. “I’m going to have to partner with some private entities ... that allow access to the Internet so the feed can get back to the police department.”
Each camera costs about $1,500, and Palmer would like to begin with four. More costs could be incurred running cable or installing poles, he said.
The first target would be the intersection of Lexington Avenue and the Bypass, which sees the largest number of traffic collisions, Palmer said. Other potential intersections would be along Boone Avenue and around Main Street and Washington Street.
While it would be used for enforcement, the camera “ring,” which would circle the city, would help in investigations but couldn’t lead directly to arrests.
“That gives us probable cause to begin investigation,” Palmer said. “It doesn’t allow us to go arrest that person. It gives us a lead in the investigation.”
The camera recordings, which would be stored about six months, would function like any other database and be open to Kentucky Sunshine Law. But Mayor Ed Burtner voiced concern about how often the city would field Open Records request involving the recordings.
“We need to have a pretty clear policy on how this will be used,” Burtner said.
In other business, the board:
— Approved the first reading of an ordinance that would change the zoning classification of 134 South Maple St. and 103 West Hickman St. from residential to downtown business.
— Tabled an order authorizing the installation of a streetlight at the corner of Ceder Drive and Cedar Court. The board wanted to double-check information from Kentucky Utilities. The board will review that order and a measure to install streetlights in the ally between Belmont Avenue and Moundale Avenue at the next meeting, Jan. 22.
— Approved measures appointing personnel to local boards, including Roy Turley (Winchester Board of Ethics), Wayne Estes (Winchester Tree Board), Shannon Cox (Winchester Municipal Utilities Commission), Rick Beach (Clark County-Winchester Heritage Commission), Kitty Strode (Clark County Generations Center Board of Directors), Kenny Book (Clark County Generations Center Board of Directors, Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation Board) and Brett Chevront (Winchester Board of Ethics).