Prince’s Lakes police add security cameras to town entrances
Prince’s Lakes police have added security cameras to town entrances in an effort that officials say is both proactive and reactive.
The Prince’s Lakes Police Department (PLPD) has partnered with Cable-TEC, a company that provides security camera sales and service, to mount and install security cameras on strategically placed poles at both points of entry/exit of the city, Police Chief Greg Southers announced in a news release Friday.
The cameras will provide officers with real-time data to capture the make, model, color and license plate on the back of vehicles as they enter and exit the city. They will also capture actionable evidence and also send real-time footage to officers, the press release said.
For more than a year, department and city officials have been working on the purchase and installation of cameras. Last summer, an acquaintance from Southers, told him about a cheaper version of license plate reader cameras. The acquaintance was looking to install them for customers, Southers said.
After doing some research, Southers was able to organize a demo with members of the city council in attendance around July 2021. The city council liked the cameras and the company they came from, so the city bought the cameras for between $5,000 and $6,000, including installation costs, Southers said.
This cost included installation and equipment. With the exception of the Internet bill for the system, no additional costs are foreseen. Even with the internet bill, the charges shouldn’t be that high, he said.
The cameras will help the department be both proactive and reactive when it comes to preventing and solving crimes. The city has recently seen early morning crime that has prompted the need for cameras.
“We’ve had early morning crime – vehicles have been broken into – and recently street signs and ‘Welcome to Prince’s Lakes’ signs have been stolen early in the morning,” Southers said.
The cameras are also capable of recording footage at night, a system that works very well, he said.
“He can’t catch them all, but he does a good job of catching most of them,” Southers said.
The cameras will not be used for traffic control and no facial recognition technology is integrated into them. When a new technology is introduced, one usually wonders if it follows the movements of citizens. The new system doesn’t do that, Southers said.
Collected data is securely stored on a hard drive and is automatically deleted approximately every 30 days on an ongoing basis. It is not sold or shared with third parties, he said.
The difference between the camera system used by Prince’s Lakes and the FLOCK license plate reading systems used by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and other area police departments is that the cameras at Prince’s Lakes do not are tied to any statewide system. They can only be accessed by the local department, Southers said.
Additionally, the cameras do not have the capability to operate the plates and are only set up to record video so officers can look back and retrieve plate information. However, officers can use the recorded video to search for plates in another system, he said.
PLPD’s cameras also allow footage to be uploaded and accessed on officers’ phones, meaning that if an officer covers one city entrance himself, he can use his phone to remotely monitor the other entrance. , Southers said.
The police department does not spy on people with the cameras or monitor people coming and going with them, Southers said. Cameras are used to monitor intersections and as an investigative tool when crimes occur in the city.
“I have been involved in law enforcement for 35 years; it’s just something the people of Prince’s Lakes can (use to) feel safer,” Southers said. “It’s going to help us as a police department keep tabs on intersections and help us come back to them as an investigative tool.”