West Carrollton approves license plate reader agreement

WEST CARROLLTON —West Carrollton will soon install license plate readers in the city to help reduce crime, the city’s police chief said.

City council voted Tuesday in favor of a 3-year subscription service agreement with Flock Group, an Atlanta-based maker of license-plate reading cameras, to lease five license plate reader units at a cost not to exceed $38,750.

Funding for the cameras will come from the police trust fund, said West Carrollton Police Chief Doug Woodard.

The agreement covers the installation, maintenance, and cloud storage of information obtained from the LPR units.

The devices are mounted to poles and capture license plates, recording them on still frame pictures that go to a cloud storage system. That information is then fed into a data base, which is connected to National Crime Information Center, a data base law enforcement uses when entering stolen vehicles and missing/wanted persons.

LPRs bounce each scanned plate off an NCIC hotlist. If there is a hit, it sends out an alert of where that hit occurred to any agency that has the app.

West Carrollton Police Chief Doug Woodard said approximately 70% of all crime is tied to use of an automobile in some way or another, either through direct use, the theft of an automobile or the use of an automobile as an escape method.

“In turn, it will help us reduce our clearance rates. It will help us reduce crimes and really the biggest resource for us is the database that we can use to tie into,” Woodward said. “Flock is nationwide. They’re also all throughout the state of Ohio (and) all throughout Montgomery County.

“The database we can tap into, we have over 100 cameras inside of Montgomery County that was can access at a moment’s notice, so that’s where the benefit is.”

The Flock cameras are not red light cameras, he said.

“The red light cameras captured a video of a violation, sent that video the police department to review and we reviewed all videos,” Woodard said. “Flock cameras do not do that. They capture a still image. Those images are kept in a secure database until they are viewed.”

No citations are issued from Flock cameras, he said.

Kettering voted last week to delay a decision on a contract with Flock Group Inc. for automatic license plate detection cameras.

Councilmembers said the issue was postponed because some members of the legislative body had not assumed their newly elected positions when the contract was discussed. Four members — including Mayor Peggy Lehner — began their terms in the past several weeks.

If approved, the deal would have Flock install 10 cameras across the city to help police solve crimes, City Manager Mark Schwieterman has said.

Staff Writer Nick Blizzard contributed to this report.

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