PLAINFIELD, Ind. (AP) — A growing number of Indiana communities are purchasing license plate cameras that can allow police to automatically detect stolen cars or vehicles associated with suspects wanted in crimes ranging from murders to child abductions.
Several Indiana cities are using the technology, including the Plainfield Police Department, just west of Indianapolis. The department purchased 12 license plate cameras this year for about $27,000 and installed them in September along the city’s main thoroughfares.
The cameras, which collect the plate numbers and characteristics of passing vehicles, have proven useful in their first 90 days of use, said Plainfield Deputy Chief Joe Aldridge.
“We get hits daily. We don’t find them all, but it’s just lead information,” he told The Indianapolis Star.
Plainfield police bought their license plate cameras from Flock Safety, a company that has also provided several other central Indiana police agencies with the cameras, including Indianapolis, Franklin, Zionsville, Beech Grove and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, said Flock Safety Spokesperson Holly Beilin.
Top officials in Indianapolis announced funding in October that will another 350 license plate readers and other technology to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. The city and police department have not yet finalized which company will provide the new license plate readers, said IMPD spokesman Lt. Shane Foley.
License plate reading cameras can send an alert to police when a stolen vehicle drives past. They can also alert police when a vehicle belonging to a known wanted suspect, from a national crime database, passes by or a vehicle associated with a missing person in an AMBER or Silver Alert is detected.
In northwest Indiana, the city of Whiting installed license plate readers about a month ago at a major intersection. That system soon helped police capture a Gary murder suspect who drove through the intersection, said Mayor Steve Spebar, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.
“It notified our officers,” Spebar told city council members last week. “We were able to arrest that suspect. So already the system paid dividends by taking a murder suspect off the streets.”