New cameras expected to aid LPD investigations

LIMA — The Lima Police Department will add another “tool” to its public safety toolbox in the near future with the addition of 12 license plate-reading cameras to be erected at various locations throughout the city.

The City of Lima recently entered into a two-year contract, at a cost of $60,000, with Flock Safety Group of Atlanta for the lease of motion-activated cameras that feature the company’s patented Vehicle Fingerprint technology. The devices capture images of the back of vehicles as they drive past, day or night, and enter those images into a data bank. Law enforcement officials can then search that database by vehicle make, color, type and license plate as well as by the state of the license plate, missing or covered plates and unique vehicle details like roof racks and bumper stickers.

Flock will provide technical support and any software updates or necessary repairs necessary for the solar-powered cameras during the life of the agreement.

According to LPD Major Ron Hollman, the principle use for the cameras will be to allow officers to detect vehicles that have been entered through National Crime Information Center as stolen. The cameras will not be used to enforce routine traffic laws, he said.

Other uses for the cameras, according to information available online, is to identify people with warrants out for their arrest or to aid in other investigations in tracking down a criminal. The system will also allow police to track down Amber Alert victims, as well as individuals with dementia.

Hollman said the cameras will be mounted on stationary poles, adding that the locations for those cameras has not yet been determined.

The camera systems are expected to be installed within the next month.