City utilizes new video cameras to boost security

Public Information Officer for the Starkville Police Department Brandon Lovelady shows the different views of the new security cameras located behind City Hall and at J.L. King Memorial Park. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Logan Kirkland
Staff Writer

In addition to the city’s current surveillance system, Starkville will now utilize two new security cameras to help monitor public spaces.

The two new security cameras are located on the back end of city hall on Main Street and at J.L. King Memorial Park, facing the splash pad.

Public Information Officer for the Starkville Police Department Brandon Lovelady said the recent vandalism at J.L. King Park sparked the idea of placing a new camera over in that area.

Lovelady said having video surveillance at Starkville parks is important because families should feel safe while enjoying the area. He said the cameras are also used as a deterrent for those who may be mischievous.

“This has been something we’ve been working on,” Lovelady said. “We’re working with local companies and camera manufacturers to hopefully come up with an agreement in the future.”

Currently, Lovelady said Rod Eddie of the Starkville IT Department is working on potential partnerships. Those potential partnerships would then be brought to the Starkville Board of Aldermen in the future for approval.

Lovelady said companies are interested in providing services, because they do not have fiber in some of those areas. With SPD potentially using the fiber for the cameras, the companies would have a reason and opportunity to expand its services. He said some companies are interested, but they are looking at long-term agreements.

The software being used for these cameras has multiple restrictions, and will allow officials to see who pulls video and moves the cameras.

“It’s better for a government entity to have something like that,” Lovelady said.

The two cameras are both an AXIS and PTZ. The different capabilities include a long zoom, and a fish-eye lens. This provides 360 degree coverage and a crisp image when viewing images far away.

Lovelady said the fish eye lens will help identify people at the street level, and identify anyone who would attempt to vandalize the security camera.

Both of the new cameras also have a blue and red flashing light located on the box of the camera.

“It’s recognition that somebody is watching you, or something is going on in that area where you may be a little more hesitant to do something in that area,” Eddie said.

Lovelady said although SPD has placed one camera in J.L. King Memorial Park, he hopes they can one day have multiple cameras at all of the parks.

“We want to make sure that people are coming to our parks and enjoying themselves and feel safe and secure,” Lovelady said. “That’s the real reason.”

Eddie said whether it’s this solution or another solution, there will be more cameras throughout the city of Starkville.

Eddie said at the end of the day, SPD would probably love to have 100 officers on hand, but it’s not a realistic number.

“Having a camera there gives you more eyes in places that you can’t have an officer,” Eddie said. “I think it’s going to be a big benefit for everybody at the end of the day whether it’s your local gas station, or whether it’s the Starkville Police Department or whether it’s some kid running in the park.”

Mayor Lynn Spruill said she is delighted to have the security cameras, because it will create a difference by providing both realtime information and footage for later investigations.

“As we have more events, and have activities downtown, it’s always good to be able to watch some of those things to stay ahead of it if there are issues,” Spruill said.

Spruill said residents should not be worried about intrusiveness, because these cameras are located on public property. If a future payment is needed from the city, she feels the board would more than likely be in favor of approving those funds.

“The opportunity and the responsibility for us to do that is pretty high and I think we should consider that as an important public safety feature,” Spruill said.

As these security cameras continue to go up, Partner of the Starkville Cotton District Robert Camp looks to continue the trend of providing additional surveillance to areas in Starkville.

Camp said although the Cotton District no longer has a police substation, safety for Cotton District residents and guests is of the upmost importance.

“For the next few years, we will work with the city of Starkville and the Starkville Police Department in donating cameras for this area on an incremental basis,” Camp said. “We hope these cameras, which will have live feeds to the city and police department, will help deter any malicious and violent activity within this area.”