Council approves cameras for Springdale park security

Posted: August 29, 2018 at 1:04 a.m.

City of Springdale City Hall Administration Police Department District Court Thursday, February 16, 2017, in downtown Springdale.

SPRINGDALE -- The City Council voted 8-0 Tuesday night to outfit a couple of its parks with cameras to reduce vandalism.

The council approved spending $235,000 for cameras in Murphy Park downtown and the C.L. "Charlie" and Willie George Park in the southeastern part of the city. Both are plagued by vandalism, according to officials.

The cameras would be paid for from bond money approved by voters for the parks. Mayor Doug Sprouse said he hopes additional camera systems can be placed in Luther George Park in downtown, Randal Tyson Park and the new Shaw Family Park in the city's northwestern quadrant as these parks go through construction and renovation, also paid by the park bond money.

"We have made a substantial investment in the parks, and we have significant graffiti problems," said Mike Overton, council member.

Cameras at the entrances of Murphy and Charlie George Park will be trained on the license plates of cars entering the park. The video record provided by the cameras can serve as a starting point in an investigation of vandalism, said Bill Mock, Parks and Recreation Department director.

The new camera system also will include "presence detectors" in the bathrooms covering the hours when the bathrooms are closed.

Park bathrooms often are the site of vandalism, Mock said. Recently, the sensor eyes on the sink faucets at Murphy Park were melted with a cigarette lighter, and the toilets jammed so they wouldn't flush. Timed locks on the bathroom doors also have been destroyed, Mock said.

Officials also found a juvenile swimming in the pool at 4:30 a.m. this summer, Mock said. "That's a safety factor without a lifeguard -- not to mention the trespassing."

Mock said he doesn't expect the cameras to stop vandalism, although he hopes eight to 12 cameras in outdoor areas of each park will serve as a deterrent.

"But the cameras can help lead us to the identification of those individuals and prosecute them," he said.

"Cameras are great for us for any type of vandalism," Police Chief Mike Peters said. "Video is always helpful."

NW News on 08/29/2018