Decatur city council approves license plate reading cameras

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DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — The Decatur city council approved an agreement to lease 60 license plate reading cameras.

City Council Member David Horn voted in favor of the cameras. He said, “Public safety is the number one priority of the city. These cameras will allow us to more quickly solve crime. A lot of individuals are encouraged to say something when they see something, but they’re fearful. These cameras allow us to see something and say something and keep our citizens safe.”

The cameras would be placed throughout the city, according to officials. Decatur City Police Chief Jim Getz said these cameras would help the department with their investigations.

Chief Getz said he spoke to several other police departments that had systems through the company, Flock Safety. They stated they had great success with the product. “I need something that works for a police department,” said Getz.

The chief and a few council members brought up the issue of privacy in regards to these cameras. One of the features of this system is that officials said it deletes the data after 30 days.

Getz stated they would only look at the information on it when they are conducting an investigation. They would be looking at specific times and locations. If there was a specific picture they needed, they would need to download it to save it from being deleted.

Another feature of this system is that license plates can be tagged to where if it shows up in another area with Flock cameras, they will receive an alert. That alert will then tell officers what area the license plate was just located in, in real-time.

A representative with Flock told council members the system would be installed 6-8 weeks after the contract is signed. They will come out and install the cameras.

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