Germantown Police Test License Plate Reading Cameras


The streets of the village of Germantown are monitored for more than one reason.

The Germantown Police Department tested one device – the Flock Safety Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) cameras.

“It gives us an extra pair of eyes, so to speak,” Det. Sgt. said Penny Schmitt. “One of the main things is the license plate reading feature, but it has unmeasurable search capabilities where we can search vehicles only by make, model, colors.”

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Even bumper or window stickers are detectable. The camera system provides various hot spot list alerts to the police.

“These alerts could be stolen vehicles, it could be that a license plate was stolen, there could potentially be a missing person associated with that vehicle,” Schmitt said.

Germantown Herd Safety Automatic License Plate Reading Camera (ALPR).

In just 45 days of testing, that already makes the difference

“We recovered three stolen vehicles,” Schmitt said. “Technically, with the stolen vehicle recoveries, we’ve had four arrests.”

A statement from Flock Safety said, in part: “We believe in objective and ethical policing.”

Germantown Police Department

Thanks to the technology used in more than 1,400 cities across the country, it allows departments to network.

“Other regional departments that may also have the system, we can all tap into each other’s camera systems,” Schmitt said. “From an investigator’s point of view, if I’m investigating something, I can reach out and watch those other cameras.”

The tool helps the ministry achieve several goals.

“Providing the best possible services to our communities to ensure that we are not only successful in investigating crime, but also hopefully preventing crime in our area,” Schmitt said.

Germantown Herd Safety Automatic License Plate Reading Camera (ALPR).

The technology allows police to take a proactive approach with alerts, contact registered license or vehicle owners – and learn more about what brings them to the village.

Schmitt said the hope is to kick-start the systems in major business districts and open them up to housing estates and homeowners associations that may feel the need.

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