Calhoun County, AL – Calhoun County Sheriff, Matthew Wade and the Calhoun County Commissioners held a press conference to discuss the new camera system that is expected to be deployed around the unincorporated areas of Calhoun County. The Flock Safety camera system is designed to capture and log vehicles, tag information, and other identifying information that can help the Sheriff’s Office investigate crimes committed in the area. During the press conference, Sheriff Wade discussed the use of this type of system to aid investigators in finding a local woman that had been kidnapped. The suspect was identified and later tracked down and arrested in Kentucky.
The Sheriff went on to say that since that incident he and the Calhoun County Commission have been working together to secure cameras for use in the County. At the last County Commission meeting there was a unanimous vote enter into an agreement with Flock Safety to secure 10 cameras that will be “strategically placed” within Calhoun County. The camera system will be able to be accessed through the East Alabama Metro Crime Center (EMACC) which is a central hub for law enforcement agencies that operate in and around the Calhoun County area.
Sheriff Wade also addressed some concerns that have been raised during their research for using this type of system. He stated, “These cameras can only be accessed for a criminal investigation. They’re not traffic control devices, they’re not speed checking devices, they can’t be altered or used for that even if we wanted to.” He also explained that there are five districts in Calhoun County and each Commissioner thought it was important enough that sponsored two cameras in each district.
When asked when the system is expected to be implemented, Sheriff Wade said, “The commissioners have done their part but now we are waiting for the State of Alabama to give final approval”. He went on to discuss that there are a lot of regulations in place in order to utilize this type of system, “And that’s a good thing because we want to make sure that people’s rights and privacy are protected and that these cameras can’t be used to track anybody on a personal level.”
Although the camera system will be installed throughout unincorporated areas the Sheriff’s Office will be working closely with other agencies that request assistance. Many of the municipalities in Calhoun County have this system, or one similar to it, which will help to located criminals that break the law in the City of Anniston but flee to an unincorporated part of the County. Sheriff Wade also explained that the locations of the cameras will not be publicly posted so the criminals will not know where to avoid being detected. He also went on to say that this system is highly portable, and the cameras can be moved to different locations depending on the need.
Commissioner Terry Howell stated “I would like to say and thank to Sheriff Wade for spearheading this very important project for Calhoun County. There is no doubt in my mind that the cameras that were used to locate the lady in Choccolocco saved her life. It’s my hope that after these 10 cameras and 5 locations are secured, we can actually expand this program.”
Commissioner Carolyn Henderson added “This is the best way to spend taxpayers’ money giving them something that may save their life. If it saves one life it will be worth it.”
Commission Chairman Fred Wilson stressed “Safety for the people in Calhoun County is an immediate need. We want to help the Sheriff do his job. He also noted that being Sheriff is a tough job and takes a lot of work. The Commission is happy to help support him.”
Commissioner Lee Patterson noted “We are aware that the Sheriff has limited resources. This is one way to expand his abilities to ensure our safety. We appreciate him taking the initiative to make this happen and as always, the Commissioners want to support him and work together to ensuring the safety of our residents and visitors. If even one life is saved it is worth the investment.”
Commissioner Danny Shears stated in the press conference that ‘This technology is already present in the County as the Sheriff stated. We simply want to expand it beyond the municipalities and expand it to the rural areas. This is just a little bit more support and an additional tool to make the County more safe.”