City of Blossom

Blossom City Hall

BLOSSOM — Lamar County Sheriff Scott Cass urged the city to purchase crime prevention cameras at a Thursday night meeting that saw the Blossom City Council continue work on a Planning & Zoning map and councilors cast votes for Lamar County Appraisal District directors.

Flock Safety cameras, when placed in high traffic areas, capture license plate numbers as vehicles pass through and are a proven asset to law enforcement, Cass said as he explained how the system provides connectivity to other cameras now being placed across the nation. He noted local law enforcement currently has access to more than 80 cameras in Northeast Texas.

License numbers of vehicles suspected in crimes are placed in the Flock System, and when a suspected vehicle passes by a camera, the system notifies law enforcement and information becomes readily available on computers in patrol vehicles.

“Then if something happens, like a burglary, like a missing person, like a juvenile runaway and that vehicle passes a Flock, it captures that tag,” Cass said. “I’ve got two auto detectives that use them day in and day out, and we have already solved several crimes including a double murder that you might remember happened in Tigertown.

“These cameras have become such a major tool that we’re using in investigations every day,” Cass said, noting the City of Paris has 21 cameras installed at the city’s entry points and in high crime areas, and that Lamar County has several cameras in operation. The City of Reno has cameras at its entry points, and the cities of Roxton and Deport are considering a purchase.

Cameras, powered by solar energy and using cellular connectivity, are mounted on poles, according to information provided by Paris Police Detective David Rowton. The cameras cost $2,500 yearly with a one-time installation fee of $250.

“The company maintains and monitors the cameras, and if one goes down they come out and replace it and you don’t even know they are there,” Rowton said. “This is a good system and is very user friendly.”

Information, stored on cameras for 30 days, is available only to law enforcement, Rowton said, noting that only license tags are available and then officers use their own databases to retrieve information about a vehicle’s owner.

During a Planning & Zoning workshop with consultant Tyler Creamer of Hayter Engineering, the council instructed Creamer to make modifications to a preliminary zoning map that will limit the number of multi-family zones within the city and increase the number of single family and agricultural zones.

In other action, the council approved the purchase of $827 in materials to repair the roof at the fire station, contracted with Crickett Cellular for four phones at a cost of $499.99 each and a $100 monthly fee and divided the city’s 22 votes for Lamar County Appraisal District board of directors among David Dunmon, Will Biard, Ed McCraw, Clifton Fendley and Marcus Wood.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at mary.madewell@theparisnews.com.

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