tipton watch

Tipton Watch is raising money to purchase security cameras in the county that have the ability to read license plates and transmit that information to law enforcement. 

A few months ago Burlison resident Charlotte Kelley noticed some outdoor cameras while she was at a hospital in Memphis and became curious. 

She asked some questions about them and found out they were security cameras manufactured and operated by a company called Flock. The cameras capture a vehicle's license plate, type and color and transmit that information to law enforcement. 

According to the Flock website, the cameras, which are about the size of a football, are in the 30 states and help police solve one to two crimes per day. 

Upon learning all this, Kelley and other community members formed a group called Tipton Watch. The primary function of the group is to raise money to allow the Tipton County Sheriff's Office to purchase cameras and install them at strategic locations on well-traveled roads. 

The cameras can be used to solve property crimes, apprehend sex offenders, recover kidnapped children and provide information on countless other crimes. 

Kelley said she's hopeful the money that has already been raised will lead to the installation of 20 cameras within three months. 

Tipton County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Billy Daugherty said the cameras will be very useful in a variety of ways. 

"It can be used in every facet of public safety," he said. "This is an ideal picture of the community working with law enforcement to make the community safer."

Last month the Atoka Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to purchase three cameras at a cost of $2,000 per year per camera. Atoka Police Chief Jesse Poole said the cameras have been ordered and should be installed very soon. 

"It's a great investigative tool," he said. "I think it's a great asset and it's economical." 

Poole said the cameras are also ideal for neighborhood associations and is encouraging associations to contact the police department if they are interested. 

He did stress, however, that only law enforcement would be able to get the information from the cameras, which eliminates any possible privacy issues. 

Tipton Watch has met several times and has consulted with the Tipton County Sheriff's Office. Chris Hackett is chairman, Cathy Waterbury is vice chairman, Kelley is secretary and Jena Hackett is treasurer. There are about 20 people in the organization.

The goal of the group is to raise $100,000 this year. Anyone wishing to donate or get involved can contact Tipton Watch through its Facebook page. Donations can also be mailed to P.O. Box 445, Covington, Tenn., 38019. 

Jeff Ireland is The Leader's sports editor. To contact him, call 901-476-7116 or email jireland@covingtonleader.com.​