SkyCop camera

The city is looking to use a Skycop camera like this one at Cougar Oil on Highland Avenue.

In a heated meeting, the Selma City Council voted to overrule a recommendation from the city’s mayor, police chief and information technology director and hired SelCom to install surveillance cameras in the city.

The city has looked at installing surveillance cameras for more than two years. The council has heard proposals from Alabama Power Company and from local firm SelCom, which uses cameras manufactured by Tennessee company SkyCop. At its Sept. 9 work session, Selma Police Chief Kenta Fulford and IT Director John Kinnerson Jr. recommended the council select the APC project.    

Mayor James Perkins Jr. proposed a motion to the council Tuesday to award the contract to Alabama Power Company to install surveillance cameras. That vote failed. The council then narrowly approved a motion to award the contract to rival company SelCom. 

Perkins expressed his disappointment in the vote. 

“The chief of police says this is what we need. The IT director says this most feasible for us to sustain,” Perkins said of the APC system. “I’m asking this council to not allow the politics of exclusion to get involved in this vote. Vote for the solution recommended by the professionals we hired.”

Perkins said the APC system would be more connected to other camera systems in the state, and he disagreed that there was a large price difference.

City Councilman Clay Carmichael, who presented the motion to go with SelCom, said the SelCom system offered better technology, was less expensive and could be purchased with federal dollars. He also said he liked the idea that cameras would be owned by the city rather than leased. Perkins countered that leasing the equipment is a bad idea because it would be harder to sustain if it were owned.  

“The problem with this council is your vision is narrow,” Perkins said. “You look at thing based on the best interests of individuals, not in the best interest of the city. You are way out of bounds.” 

Read more in this week's print edition of the Selma Sun. Subscribe here.

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