City considers purchasing Sky Cops

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 town is following in the footsteps of neighboring city Memphis, hoping to purchase Sky Cops in the future.

"Monday, we had our Police and Fire Committee meeting which featured Sky Cop of Memphis, and their motto is Eye in the Sky for Law Enforcement," Blytheville Mayor James Sanders' Assistant, Cody Wyatt, said.

Wyatt orchestrated the meeting not only aimed toward the city but the county, too. Officials with the company gave a demonstration of the technology.

Blytheville wants to purchase Sky Cops to deter crime in the most crime infested areas.

In 2017, so far the city has tackled five homicides, nine robberies, and a numerous amount of burglaries.

"The city of Blytheville and the police department's goal is to put those in places that are high-crime traffic areas," Wyatt said. "And proactively preventing crimes before they happen. They see the blue lights and they think no, we don't want to do this."

They are typically installed several feet above street level on light poles or trailers, laced with blue lights while the cameras are rolling 24/7 and 365 days a year.

"It's recording constantly and being sent to our local police department, potentially," Wyatt said. "And there are screens where dispatchers are sitting and watching. We are most interested in getting ones you can get on utility poles."

But, the city has to get funding first.

"We had one of our legislators, Johnny Rye, he told us there are grants out there, pursue them," Wyatt said. He said we need to partner with East Arkansas Planning and Development."

The Sky Cop company lent the city a unit for a month and placed it on North 6th Street near Sonic, where employees there have been robbed.

"We are losing business because of the crime rate here," the Sonic Manager, Lashunda Luster, said. "But, I was on my way to work and saw the Sky Cop and thought, cool, this is cool."

During the month, Luster said she and her crew felt much safer and also had no crime to report.

"An employee from there actually called and said, hey it's working," Wyatt said. "People have not messed with us, we feel safe at work."

Wyatt said that proved the city's goal to deter crime effectively.

She also said the city is not opposed to reaching out to neighborhoods to see if they want to come together and purchase one for themselves.

"We hope to use them to our advantage," Wyatt said. "And stop the crime before it even happens."

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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