Priceville police discuss installing license plate readers in community

Courtesy: Chief Justin Barley

The company they're talking to told WAAY 31 it has installed multiple cameras in Hartselle.

Posted: Jan 6, 2021 4:52 PM

The Priceville Police Department is set to talk Wednesday night about adding license plate readers to some subdivisions to help fight crime.

The company, Flock Safety, does real-time reading of license plates and sends the information to local law enforcement. Hartselle police just down the road installed cameras about 6 weeks ago and said they're seeing the results of them.

The company said they have installed these license plate readers in more than 1,000 cities across the United States and the idea is to catch criminals quickly who commit a crime and hopefully help stop crime from happening.

Flock Safety explained the program works by having a camera take a full color picture when a car passes by it. The picture captures the license plate number, as well as the color make and model of the car.

Garrett Langley, the founder and CEO of the company, said that information is submitted in 5-10 seconds of when it is captured to an FBI database to see if the car is associated with any crimes. He explained from there, it would be sent to the local agency's closest officer and hopefully help apprehend someone wanted by law enforcement.

Langley said to ease concerns of neighbors about the cameras, the company strives for transparency with the product.

"We only store the data for 30 days, so this is not creating some master database for 5 years of where you've gone. We have very transparent audits. So, if a city council person is uncomfortable or wants to question what is the police department doing, the chief has the ability to export every single search that occurred, what the reason was, which is a typically required case code, what officer performed the search," he said.

Langley said the cameras have helped law enforcement agencies over the past three years find missing children and solve a variety of crimes as serious as murder.

Hartselle Police Chief Justin Barley sent pictures of the license plate readers they installed in Hartselle. He said there are seven around town and are helping monitor areas around the clock. He also said they help his officers and investigators solve crimes.

Since they were installed, they've recovered stolen cars and license plates, he said. He said he thinks the more cameras installed around the area will help catch criminals quickly.

"A lot of our suspects that commit crimes here are from different areas and vice versa, so enables everyone to network and help out each other when it comes to solving crimes and identifying people of interest. So, it's very valuable. The more people that get it, the bigger the network gets, the more powerful of a resource that it becomes," Barley said.

Hartselle police said they went with the product because each camera cost them only $2,500 and included the monitoring services and warranties. He said they're a cost-effective option to help fight crime.

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