License plate readers coming to Ridgeland to help solve crimes

Updated: Apr. 24, 2020 at 8:14 PM CDT
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RIDGELAND, Miss. (WLBT) - The City of Ridgeland just approved a 60-day trial run for new policing technology.

It’s called “Flock Safety” and Police Chief John Neal has been pushing to inherit the license plate readers.

“We’ve been dealing with this company probably for the last year now trying to come up with certain strategic plans so we can implement this," he said.

Solar-powered poles will be placed in high traffic areas. They will take pictures of license plates and store them in a cloud for 30 days.

“If we are able to decipher what that license plate number is, it allows us to do our internal trackings to upload wanted vehicles, wanted persons and stuff such as that. So, if somebody passes in front of it, it notifies our dispatch center," said Neal.

Chief Neal said that privacy is a major concern for him and his department.

“A license plate on a car is not an expectation of privacy that people have. This is the same as if I put a police officer on the side of the road with a pen and a notepad and he writes down every license plate number that drives by,” he said.

“We’re hoping that this is something that’s going to be beneficial to us and a good expense of the tax payer’s money,” said Neal.

If permanently installed, Flock Safety will cost the city $16,000 a year.

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