QPD to host public meetings on license plate cameras this week

police cameras

QUINCY — The Quincy Police Department will host the first of two public meetings tonight to inform the public about the license plate reader cameras they want to install around the city.

The meetings will detail what license plate readers are capable of as well as what police say they will not do as well as addressing privacy and constitutional concerns.

The first meeting will be held on tonight at 6:00 P.M. in the City Hall Council Chambers. The second meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 25 at 6:00 P.M. at the QPD Sub Post in the Quincy Town Center (formally Quincy Mall). Each meeting is expected to last between 30-45 minutes.

At last week’s Police Aldermanic Committee meeting, Quincy Police Chief Adam Yates proposed spending $117,600 on a two-year lease for 20 cameras to be placed around Quincy.

The plan is for the cameras to primarily be located at the city’s main entrance and exit street locations, including Bayview Bridge and new the Ill. 104/I-172 interchange. Others would be placed based on traffic patterns and other data.

The technology Yates is recommending is from Flock Safety, a company founded in 2017. It sells automated license plate recognition technology to law enforcement agencies. The cameras read license plates and sent alerts to law enforcement officers when the cameras identify license plates that match those on lists of cars that are stolen or are of interest to the police.

Flock Safety already has placed its technology in nearly 200 Illinois communities, including Springfield, Rock Island, East Moline, Chatham and Jacksonville. It claims on its website to reduce crime by 70 percent in the communities it serves.

Law enforcement officials believe the implementation of the devices will enhance the police department’s ability to investigate crimes.

“The Quincy Police Department … is down nine police officers again. This is an issue that is constant for all police departments across the country, and I think it’s time that we really start focusing on using technology to help us do our jobs better,” Yates said.

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