Flock license plate readers help Byron Police Department solve entering autos case
Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) cameras are coming to the city of Byron, and they’ve already helped the Police Department solve a major case.
For decades, law enforcement has used ALPRs to solve investigations and locate missing persons, but now, cities across Middle Georgia are adopting Flock Safety cameras that offer around-the-clock monitoring.
”Imagine having a police officer at every city limits coming into Byron,” Byron Police Chief Wesley Cannon said. “Imagine having a police officer there writing down the tag number of every car that comes into town, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.”
The Byron Police Department is installing 12 ALPR cameras at every entrance to Byron to monitor each vehicle that passes through the city.
According to Chief Cannon, the cameras can help locate a person of interest, stolen cars, missing persons or child abductions.
“Any time you have a wanted subject, a stolen car, a stolen car runs by one of these cameras, we’re gonna get notified,” Chief Cannon said. “‘This car was stolen, this is the camera it went by and what time. I mean, it’s almost instant.”
That’s how Byron Police were able to catch an entering autos suspect before the installation of the cameras was even complete.
The suspect’s vehicle was detected on a Flock camera near the site of a reported burglary. Police were able to match the license plate to an address and found stolen goods in the vehicle. The suspect had three open warrants for their arrest and was linked to nearly 30 other entering autos investigations across Middle Georgia.
“Without that system, and without that knowledge, I don’t know if we would’ve ever made an arrest in that case,” Chief Cannon said.
According to the Flock Safety website, the cameras only collect tag numbers and vehicle characteristics. They do not monitor speed or take pictures of the driver.
Police were also able to locate a missing Byron resident in Texas with the help of the GCIC database. Chief Cannon says the cameras can help other communities by sharing valuable data that law enforcement wouldn’t otherwise have.
“It’s just amazing,” he said. “All the possibilities this could be used for when it comes to crime prevention, deterring crime and investigating crimes and just simply returning a loved one home.”
The Byron Police Department paid $50,000 for the cameras and will pay a service contract fee of $2,500 each year.
Chief Cannon says the cameras are significantly cheaper than employing a police officer and will help the department save on manpower.