Craighead County officials looking to buy SkyCops

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Craighead County officials are looking at purchasing SkyCops to help monitor and deter crime during future events.

In September, the city of Jonesboro tested a SkyCop during the Downtown Jonesboro BBQ Festival.

The trial went over so well that now plans are being made to get SkyCops on a permanent basis.

Craighead County E-911 Director Jeff Presley said the Next Generation 911 system that was installed a little less than two years ago is the beginning of a push toward a national "Smart City" initiative.

He said that leads into this push for SkyCops because smart cities will be eligible for federal and state grants that could help Craighead County E-911 purchase the cameras.

Presley thinks they would be especially beneficial during events with large crowds like the Christmas parade or the annual barbecue festival.

"It gives a peace of mind to the officers and the first responders working the scene that we've got that extra little bit of help because we're keeping an eye out," Presley said. "And if you have that criminal element, it can be a deterrent because they're being watched."

Presley said they hope to buy about three of the SkyCops in the near future, preferably the mobile versions that are on trailers and can be moved around when there is a big event.

He said some of the cameras can even detect gunshots and run license plates automatically.

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