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License plate readers have barely debuted in Lexington, but the mayor will propose a boost in funding Tuesday. Here's why.

government center
Josh James
/
WUKY

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton will deliver her Fiscal Year 2023 budget proposal Tuesday. And while the specifics aren't yet known, public safety, including more money for a still-evolving pilot program, are among the proposals.

Gorton hinted Monday that the budget will continue her commitment to making Lexington safer.

Two specific items she did list include more money for programs to engage youth on the issue of violence and more funds for license plate cameras.

The city is only weeks into a yearlong pilot program to install 25 plate readers in areas of town with patterns of high crime, but the mayor says she’s already proposing more money for the young initiative because "the pilot will end before the end of the budget, so if we find that they're successful — which we are already seeing successes — then I want to have the money in the budget so we can continue them."

The cameras snap pictures of license plates and run them against a database of plates linked to known wanted criminals, repeat DUI offenders, and stolen vehicles. Pressed on whether the city should be required to let drivers know the location of the cameras, Gorton said, "People do not have the right to a particular kind of exemption from the license plate readers because they're in public right-of-way."

The mayor said it’s important the city continue to modernize law enforcement tools as it works to reduce crime.

Gorton’s full budget address is at 3 Tuesday afternoon.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.