MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Commissioners and municipal police departments say they’re getting closer to deploying hundreds of surveillance cameras across the county.
Officials hope the cameras could be up and running in the next few months.
“We want to be strategic in the way they are placed so they become a resource and not a liability,” said Mark Billingsley, Shelby County Commission Chairman.
At a meeting earlier this month, county leaders and officials from police departments in Memphis, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Millington and the Shelby County Sheriff's Office tried to get on the same page about commissioners' plans to spend $1.6 million on security cameras countywide, with $125,000 earmarked for cameras for each of the 13 commission districts.
The plan would include additional monitoring in Memphis where more than 2,000 cameras watch over about 500 locations and get municipalities in on the surveillance.
“There are ways that we can use cameras in side our city to help us along when crimes occur and to try to deter those crimes,” said Jeff Cox, Bartlett Police assistant chief.
Assistant Bartlett Police Chief Jeff Cox was part of the talks and shared thoughts with commissioners Wednesday as they got an update on the process.
It’s an idea that gained traction weeks ago – give the departments themselves money to fund the cameras in the form of a grant – and let them decide what type of cameras to purchase – and how to run the program which includes preserving the video.
“It helps to be able to manage those systems. It also gives us access when we need them if something occurs,” said Cox.
Commission Chairman Mark Billingsley says the county would foot the bill for the cameras initially, including set up costs.
However, it's likely municipalities would eventually be expected to cover costs of maintenance.
It's also possible they could set up their own camera programs, piggybacking off the county's effort.
“The need for cameras is different in every area of the county,” said Billingsley.