The city of Paragould will soon be in the video surveillance business.
According to Mayor Josh Agee, the city’s Information Technology (IT) Department has built one “mobile patrol unit” and is building four more.
Agee, who introduced the first device at the April 12 City Council meeting, said the device is a portable wireless camera mount, which can accommodate up to three cameras.
“It can provide 360-degree coverage,” the mayor said, “and it runs 24 hours a day.”
Agee added each device uses a continuous loop to record video.
“It erases and records over when it gets to the end of the loop,” he said. Agee declined to say publicly how long the loop is, but suggested it was much longer than just a single day. “And it has a blue light mounted on it,” he said, “to show its location.”
The mayor also said each device has the capability to provide video to police officers as it is being recorded. “It can give real-time telemetry,” he said.
Agee said the device is somewhat similar in concept to commercially available devices that retail for about $8,000. “But [IT Department head] Shane Stovall has built this one for $1,800,” he said.
Agee said the city will install one of the devices each at Reynolds, Harmon and Labor Parks; and at the Community Center. “And we’ll have another one that we can locate where we want or need it,” he said.
Agee said the devices serve a two-fold purpose. “They deter criminal activity and they are investigative tools,” he said.
Along those lines, Agee said the possibilities for the uses of the mobile patrol units are endless. “For example,” he said, “on Black Friday, maybe a store like Wal-mart would want us to set it up to cover their parking lot. Or maybe Main Street Paragould might want it for one of their events in downtown Paragould.”
Agee said the city expects to build 10 more such devices by the end of the year. “This is a huge opportunity for businesses that might want one,” he said. “Or neighborhoods can buy one – raise donations for it.” Agee said the city would also build the devices for businesses or neighborhoods that may want them.
According to Agee other cities have realized tremendous success using devices similar to the mobile patrol units.
“They use them in Jonesboro, for example” he said, “and they love them.”