Garner Police to fight crime with cameras that read license plates

GARNER, N.C. (WTVD) -- Garner has a new tool to fight crime.

The police department is rolling out license-plate readers, leasing 15-special cameras through Flock Safety.

The readers give real-time alerts to police when a stolen or wanted vehicle passes a camera.

They can also tell officers whether a vehicle is connected to a missing person investigation.

Don't worry, they're not for checking your driving.

"These cameras are not used for traffic enforcement, they are not speed devices," said Lorie Smith, Garner Police Chief. "They focus primarily on license plates and vehicle characteristics, and those vehicles that are triggered are typically ones that are reported stolen or are associated with a missing person through AMBER or Silver alerts.

Flock Safety cameras are used in more than 1,400 cities across 40 states. The company works with more than 1,000 police departments.

Police said the system is already paying off. Within 24 hours of deployment on Feb. 9, officers using the technology were able to identify the suspect vehicle in a string of vehicle break-ins at a park. That enabled police to identify the suspect and obtain a warrant in a matter of hours.

The technology also helped police find a stolen vehicle within an hour of the alert. That case resulted in the detainment of two juveniles, one of whom had been reported missing.

Eight readers were put in place earlier this month in what officials call strategic areas.

Garner Police said the rest of the cameras will be rolled out later this week.
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