Smile! You’re on a security camera

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A story of vandalism at Victory Park, published last week in Webster Parish Journal, has led to a trial of sci-fi-like equipment at the location.

Minden Mayor Nick Cox said District E Councilman Andy Pendergrass was contacted by Stallion Oilfield Services representatives Tony Sanders and Richard Wiginton the day after the story ran.

“Andy put together a meeting for us where Stallion set up a mobile security system trailer and demonstrated it,” Cox said. 

The solar-powered trailer is on loan from Stallion but may be rented on a month-to-month basis, Cox said. The arm on it is 20 feet tall with two cameras, speaker and motion detection lights.

“It sends out a live feed, and they have someone at Stallion that monitors it 24/7,” he added. “We can monitor it, too.”

Pendergrass said only time will tell if the system is what is needed at the park.

“It has an alert to the police department, as well as the live feed,” Pendergrass said. “Stallion will also alert the PD if something happens.

There is an intercom attached to the system, and if a person tries to destroy it – or anything in its range –  they will hear a disembodied voice and a siren sounds.

“If someone were trying to tear it up, they couldn’t do that and get away faster than the PD is notified and gets there,” Pendergrass said. “We can catch them while they are doing it.”

If the city chooses to rent the unit, it will cost around $1,800 per month and includes monitoring. To purchase it outright would be anywhere from $50-60,000 depending on the way the trailer is equipped.

“I can equip it with more cameras,” said Wiginton, StaRComm Superintendent for Stallion Oilfield Services. “It also has Wifi capability that can be turned on if you have an event and people want to hook up to Wifi for their devices.”

Wiginton said Stallion has an entire department that does nothing but monitor cameras at the location in Houston.

Minden Police Chief Jared McIver is already monitoring the one at Victory Park on his phone and computer.

“It could be a big help and a deterrent to vandalism,” McIver said.

“If we had one of these at Ewell Park during the April shooting, it would’ve made a tremendous difference,” he continued. “We have solved that one pretty fast – just one shooter is still out there – but think how much more information those cameras would’ve given us.”

“Because it’s portable, it can be moved from park to park and rented for events at those parks,” Cox said.

Wiginton said he can break down the equipment in 20 minutes and have it ready to move.

Pendergrass said he hopes the council will discuss subletting regulations with City Attorney Jimbo Yocom.

The company has volunteered loan of a trailer to Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office for an upcoming event at Bayou Speedway.

“The hosts have filled out all the right forms and are paying for several deputies to be out there,” Sheriff Jason Parker said. “They are going to have an ambulance service that they paid to be out there. Everything that is required on the permit has been paid for.”

Parker said the property owner has given permission to put the trailer at the event.

“They were more than willing to have it out there,” he said. “Why not utilize something that we have access to, in case something does happen?”

The trailer will be at Victory Park for a total of 10 days. Since it was placed there, no incidents have been reported.

“We want to stop something before it happens,” Cox said. “If this acts as a deterrent, then that’s fine with me.”

In addition to Stallion, other citizens and businesses have come forward and offered ways to help with park vandalism.

“That’s one of the positives to come out of this,” Pendergrass said. “People are talking about this. They are reaching out to us with possible solutions.”