Supervisors buy cameras for north part of county

Published 8:52 am Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Four law enforcement security camera systems will soon be installed in north Panola County following the supervisors’ recent purchase and agreement of locations.

The cameras are the same as those the City of Batesville purchased last year, and are the first to be bought by the Board of Supervisors. District 2 supervisor Earl Burdette pushed for the cameras, saying some of his constituents live in fear because of gun violence, often gang related, in their neighborhoods.

“These cameras are long overdue in the county, and especially in District 2 where the shooting and killings have people fearing for their life,” Burdette said. “They won’t stop violent crime but each camera will be like a police officer stationed where residents can see them and know that law enforcement has another tool.”

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Two cameras will go in the Green Hill area near Sardis, and two will be set up in Crenshaw.

Green Hill has become a major crime area in the past few years, although an increase in the presence of county deputies in the past months has reduced reports of violence.

Willow Street and Letha Wiley Road will likely be the Green Hill locations. Cameras on those byways will cover the only entrances and exits to the area – Hwy. 51 into Sardis city limits and Hwy. 310 just west of the town.

Because the Green Hill area is just a few yards outside the Sardis city limits, the police department cannot patrol there. The Sheriff’s Office, already stretched for road patrol deputies, had difficulty dedicating officers to the specific area when so much of the county needed regular attention.

The supervisors, earlier this year, authorized County Attorney Gaines Baker to seek a Chancery Court ruling declaring a particularly troublesome mobile home address (a murder and multiple other shootings) a public nuisance, and with the additional deputy patrols, the incidents of gunfire and gang fights have been reduced.

Green Hill Elementary School sits a couple of blocks from the streets that have been the most troublesome for authorities in the past, and Burdette said the cameras will be well received by parents picking up and dropping off their children.

“There are a lot of good people, good families, in Green Hill, but we have a few bad ones, too. We need better law enforcement for these people and these cameras will be a starting point,” Burdette said.

Sardis Police Department has available bandwidth to host the cameras’ live, continuous feed, and monitors will allow officers to watch activity in real time.

The other two camera systems will be placed in Crenshaw after consultation with local Police Chief Adrian Kirkwood. Those cameras will aid deputies in identifying vehicles and persons of interest in an area of the county that is the farthest away from the Sheriff’s Office of all the county’s municipalities.