Hartselle police to implement license plate readers in effort to solve crimes

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. – The Hartselle Police Department is getting new technology to help them solve crimes in the community. The Flock Safety System reads license plates and will help the department identify suspects.

Hartselle Police Chief Justin Barley says the city is growing, and with growth comes new challenges.

“We being right by I-65, we have a lot of suspects that will come into town and target this area,” says Barley.

Chief Barley says while surveillance videos are helpful, they don’t always get police the suspects.

“A lot of times these people are coming from other areas and we don’t really have much of a chance of getting them identified so with this system at least we will have a workable lead,” says Barley.

Flock Safety has cameras that read license plates, which Chief Barley says helps Hartselle Police both combat and solve crime.

“If we get somebody that commits a crime at a store or at a business and we have a description of a vehicle, we can narrow down on that and obtain a tag number,” says Barley.

Chief Barley says he realizes some people might have privacy concerns.

“The technology is not for traffic enforcement; it does not have facial recognition,” says Barley.

Barley says only law enforcement has privileges to run car tags from Flock Safety.

“It obtains pictures of license plates and if you don’t have the privileges to run those license plates through NCIC like the police have, it really doesn’t do you much good at that point,” says Barley.

Barely says private citizens are able to purchase their own Flock cameras and then turn over their video to police if need be.

The department plans to start with four Flock cameras at $2,500 each, and they hope to have them implemented within 30 to 45 days.

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