The Lafayette Police Department soon will be keeping a closer watch on the city.
By the end of the year, nearly 90 crime cameras will be in place throughout the city and 40 officers will be wearing body cameras — two initiatives that have been in the works for more than a year.
The first crime cameras are scheduled to be installed by April, with 52 going up in targeted high-crime areas in north Lafayette, interim Police Chief Reginald Thomas told the City-Parish Council’s Police Liaison Committee on Wednesday.
He said another 25 cameras are planned for downtown and at least 10 for other locations in the city.
All the cameras should be in place by September, Thomas said.
“The locations are mostly locations where we have major problems,” he said.
The cameras will not store footage indefinitely and will not be continuously monitored, but officers will have the ability to review a few days of footage for evidence or to monitor criminal activity in an area.
In a related initiative, the department is preparing to order 40 body cameras, and some officers are expected to be wearing the cameras by the summer, Thomas said.
The devices, which capture interactions with the public and crime scene details, are becoming increasingly common in law enforcement agencies across the U.S. The cameras have been touted as a safeguard for both citizens and officers, providing a visual record to either substantiate or disprove allegations of officer misconduct.
“By having this good information, if you can avoid one lawsuit, it’s worth it,” said Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux.
Thomas said the department is considering expanding the body camera program in the near future, possibly outfitting another 110 officers.