Shelby County Commission sorting out plan to install surveillance cameras

Shelby Co. Commission sorting out surveillance cameras

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Commissioners are still trying to sort out a $1.6 million plan they approved to put 325 surveillance cameras in county limits.

Commissioners say constituents have been asking for the cameras.

But there are a lot of people to get to the table on this, including the seven municipalities and county government. And that doesn't include deciding who to buy the cameras from.

“All of us have been approached by vendors,” said Brandon Morrision, Shelby County commissioner.

Since county leaders decided last month to spend $1.6 million on surveillance cameras and 25 cameras for all 13 districts, commissioners say they've been flooded with inquiries and questions.

A key decision is whether to purchase the cameras from Memphis-based Skycop, go with other vendors, or put the request out to bid.

It's possible the county could piggyback off an existing contract the city has with Skycop, or an additional vendor, to save time.

Skycop camera enclosures are $5,000 each.

In 2016, the city council put up 70 of them to be equally spread across council districts. Neighborhoods have also fundraised to purchase cameras.

There are more than 2,000 cameras deployed in roughly 500 locations in Memphis.

The video is monitored by the real time crime center.

“I think the taxpayers truly want to see a sustainable initiative brought by their elected officials that they can see what their tax dollars are doing,” said Eddie Jones, Shelby County Commissioner.

Commissioners hope to work out the logistical considerations, like who would be in charge of monitoring the county's cameras and whether that would rest with the sheriff's office or municipal police departments, in the coming weeks and months

Meantime, Skycop officials say they want to secure the county contract.

“We want to be involved because this is our community. Our selling point is that this is a deterrent we are not covert we are very overt our equipment was built for law enforcement,” said Marie Nichols, Skycop director of operations.

Commissioners told staff they want to expedite these conversations.

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