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Greenwood police, businesses use license plate readers to solve crimes

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — Police use any tool available to help solve crimes.

The Greenwood Police Department’s license plate readers have done just that.

“We’ve recovered 17 stolen vehicles, we’ve recovered two missing persons, and it’s helped us in numerous criminal investigations,” Police Chief James Ison said Monday.

The department purchased four Flock security cameras in 2021. They just purchased two more this year. The cameras are connected to a database used by other police departments all over the country.
The system allows police to specifically search for license plates, or vehicles they’re trying to find.

Ison says the tool is invaluable. “Within 15 seconds basically with these cameras, every plate that passes them, they run it through the National Crime Information Center. Anyone who’s been entered in that system, it will send all of our officers a message to their laptop computers in their car.”

One of the best features is that private companies can purchase the same system and give police more avenues to help solve crimes against businesses.

Simon Property Group owns Greenwood Park Mall. The company is purchasing four of the Flock cameras for the 1,287,869 square-foot shopping center.

“So, there are law enforcement agencies and private businesses, neighborhoods, homeowners’ associations, apartment complexes all over the country that have these cameras. We share our data with any law enforcement agency across the country that wants it and vice versa, most of them share it with us,” Ison said.

The police chief says he knows some privacy concerns will arise, but the potential to keep people safe outweighs the cons.

“It is a very valuable tool and it obviously helps us to keep the community safe, so there are no privacy concerns or legal concerns from our standpoint,” Ison said.