Police officials say the issue with LRPD cameras is similar to streaming online video - low bandwidth creates low quality video. It's an issue Little Rock city officials are aware of and say clearly they're looking to improve.
"Do we need to improve it? We do," commented Bruce Moore, Little Rock city director. "We'll continue to look at the resources to do that."
Little Rock police cameras record at about 10 frames per second - compared to 30 frames per second which is normal broadcast television quality. North Little Rock cameras record between 15 and 20 frames per second, even though they said they suffer from the same bandwidth problem.
"We have allocated the resources to purchase a large amount of storage space," said Capt. Leonard Montgomery, adding that computer memory will also affect frame rate. "They put about 8.5 terabytes in to store our data."
Both LRPD and NLRPD cameras are capable of capturing broadcast quality footage, but Capt. Montgomery said the current bandwidth providers (ie. Comcast, AT&T & Verizon) don't currently provide the type of bandwidth necessary. Montgomery said it's too expensive for either city to invest in expanding bandwidth, mentioning that they already spend thousands to maintain the bandwidth currently used.
"We knew that we were going to have to put additional money into this," commented Moore.
So why invest so much capital into a system that can't work to its full potential? It's similar to buying larger clothes for a child so they can grow into them.
"We spend a few extra dollars to buy a higher grade camera that we can expand to rather than scrapping the cameras in four or five years, saying the whole system is obsolete and there's no place to go," said Montgomery.
Both LRPD and NLRPD said the security cameras are not their first line of defense when it comes to criminal investigations anyway and they also serve as a crime deterrent in addition to helping solve crime. Both departments said the cameras have helped solve multiple crimes.