LAKELAND, Tenn - In a few weeks, the town of Lakeland will have eyes in the sky for security, but they won’t be SkyCop cameras.
City officials are working with a new vendor called Flock.
Commissioners told FOX13 the Flock cameras cost a fraction of the price of SkyCop cameras.
And the Flock cameras don’t just capture video. They scan license plates as well.
The small black cameras don’t have blue flashing lights.
“People are paying attention whether it’s the ones who are following the rules or the ones who are not following the rules,” Lakeland Commissioner Wesley Wright told FOX13.
This month, Lakeland commissioners approved funding to rent 20 of the Flock security cameras at a price of $40,000 a year.
FOX13 asked the reason for not using SkyCop cameras in Lakeland.
“Cost really,” Wesley said. “We couldn’t have a network with SkyCop cameras. We would only have 3, 4, 5 at the most with that price.”
Wright told FOX13 the goal is to create a parameter around the city starting with areas with high crime and major intersections like Fletcher Trace Parkway and U.S. Highway 64.
Wright said the cameras aren’t just eyes in the sky. Flock cameras can also scan license plates. Wright told FOX13 the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office would have access to the video feeds.
“You know there’s only so much police presence can do. They can’t literally sit in one spot and say we’re going to position ourselves here. They have to move around,” said Wright. “Flock cameras are able to assist them.”
Commissioner Wright told FOX13 the city is waiting to hear back from Shelby County commissioners about some additional funding, but they hope to install new cameras by December.
A spokesperson for the Memphis Police Department told FOX13 they are evaluating Flock cameras as they do any time a vendor has a new design.
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Additionally, those cameras could be connected to the Real-Time Crime Center, like SkyCop cameras.
Memphis City Council members told FOX13 they know SkyCop cameras are expensive and they have been shopping around for alternatives.
FOX13 spoke with Councilwoman Jamita Swearengen by phone who chairs the Public Safety Committee.
She told FOX13 she hadn’t heard of Flock Safety before, but she said City Council is meeting with another vendor this week called First Net.
“If we ever have traumatic that transpires in the city of Memphis, they will still be able to maintain the ability to record,” Swearengen said. “When everything else goes out, we have a power outage, a black out or whatever they will still be able to function.”
Swearengen told FOX13 the First Net cameras can also read license plates.
Additionally, she said the company uses AT&T as its provider which means those cameras would have access to fiber lines throughout the city.
Council members said they did not know how much First Net’s system would cost compared to SkyCop cameras.
Officials are meeting with First Net Tuesday, October 15 at 10:30am during its committee meeting.
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