McCORDSVILLE — More cameras capable of capturing images of license plates are coming to Hancock County, this time to one of its fastest-growing towns.
Six are planned throughout McCordsville at high traffic volume areas, where officials expect the devices to serve as another tool for law enforcement to fight crime.
Police Chief Paul Casey said the cameras only look for license plates, and they snap photographs of them and the vehicles they’re on as they pass by.
“It’s not going to supply what most people would think would be traditional nonstop video footage,” Casey said at a McCordsville Redevelopment Commission meeting earlier this month. “It’s just a license plate reader.”
The readers are connected to a system containing information on warrants and people who are wanted by law enforcement.
Officers can get notifications from specific cameras.
“If a car drives by and the car’s wanted, the plate’s wanted, the person inside may be wanted, then obviously if the officer’s subscribed to that, then they’re going to get that alert,” Casey told the McCordsville Metropolitan Board of Police Commissioners at a meeting earlier this month.
Officers can also access a database that allows them to search stored images by vehicle details, and can tag a certain kind of vehicle they’re on the lookout for.
“So if we have a repeat violator, then we can make sure that we’re notified when that vehicle crosses a camera,” Casey said.
The system allows law enforcement agencies to share information gathered by their cameras as well.
The McCordsville Police Department entered into a two-year agreement with Flock Safety for the cameras for $31,500.
The police department is funding four of the cameras while the town’s redevelopment commission approved $10,000 for two near Meijer. The redevelopment commission oversees the town’s tax increment financing districts, one of which includes the retail outlet, where officials hope the readers will help track down vehicles transporting stolen goods.
License plate readers can go on existing poles or poles can be installed where none exist. They’re solar powered, work at night and Flock Safety handles all permitting required with the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Several roads in Greenfield and unincorporated Hancock County are already equipped with the cameras.
McCordsville’s board of police commissioners and redevelopment commission passed measures for the readers unanimously.
Mark Walker, president of the board of police commissioners, told the Daily Reporter that some of the town’s police officers came to Casey with the suggestion for license plate readers and did research on the technology.
“They were impressed by the features and benefits of the service,” Walker said. “And once the chief gets buy-in, then it’s really easy for us to have the buy-in as a board.
“In my opinion, it’s just another tool in their utility belts to help keep the community safe,” he continued.
Walker thinks they’ll be effective in solving crimes both big and small.
“Thinking about it from a grand scale, if an Amber Alert or something were to come out, and these devices could help in a situation like that, they’d definitely be well worth the money,” he said.
Alex Jordan, president of the redevelopment commission, told the Daily Reporter that Casey’s presentation impressed him.
“It was really informative and I think what we all liked about it the most was the quality of the images that we’re getting from this, and also the ability to collaborate with the surrounding communities,” Jordan said. “Not only can we get information from them, but we can give information to them. I think that was a big selling point for everybody.”
Like Walker, he also thinks the readers will be an effective tool for officers working the roads by being constantly on the lookout.
“It takes a lot of pressure off the officers on duty,” he said.