Mandatory surveillance cameras proposed for Pine Bluff

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) -As a killer remains on the run in Pine Bluff after a recent shooting, a city alderman wants to crack down on business surveillance cameras.

Alderman George Stepps says his proposal partly stems from the September 25th fatal clerk shootingat a Big Red convenience store in Pine Bluff. Surveillance cameras were not working at the time; so police don't have a clear picture of the suspect. Stepps now hopes his proposal will prevent that in the future at this place and others around town.

While Erica Chatman made a sandwich Tuesday ata Pine Bluff Subway, multiple surveillance cameras watched from above tomake Chatman felt safe while atwork.

"Now the cameras have upgraded as you saw, we have cameras in the left and the right, and I feel very much protected," Chatman said.

It's that sense of security that Stepps wants to have at all fast-food restaurants, gas stations and convenience stores in the city.

"We feel like it's going to be for the protection not only for the employer, but the employees and even for the customers as they come into the place of business," Stepps said.

Under Stepps' plan, cameras would be required and so would proper maintenance of them.

"At certain times, the city inspector would come out and monitor," Stepps said.

There would be fines for not complying. On paper now,the proposed fines wouldrange from $300 to $1,000 day. But Stepps says that's not set in stone.

"I think that's a little steep and that's one of the things that we feel that we want to come back and want to tweak that down," Stepps said.

Stepps says these cameras are also another set of eyes for police tracking down suspects. Chatman says these cameras help provide a peace of mind for those in the store.

"I heard about the proposal and I was very excited because when you work in a place like a restaurant or a convenient store, it's very easy for you get robbed or you know anything can happen," Chatman said.

THVasked Stepps about these businesses shouldering the costs of putting in cameras. He says the majority already have them. But whenaskedif the city would chip in for those who don't he said, "We haven't crossed that bridge yet."

There is an upcoming meeting for the public to address any concerns regarding this proposed ordinance. Right now, it's set for November 5th at 3 p.m. at city hall.


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