Police chief says less than half of automatic license plate reader cameras are installed, but they’re already paying off

License plate reader

An automated license plate reader recently was installed at the northwest corner of Sixth and Chestnut in Quincy. | David Adam

QUINCY — The installation of a handful of automatic license plate reader cameras in Quincy already has paid off for the Quincy Police Department.

Adam Yates, chief of the Quincy Police Department, gave the Quincy City Council an update on the ALPRs. Aldermen on March 15 approved a two-year agreement with Flock Safety for 20 ALPRs to be installed at various locations.

Yates said not all cameras are installed, but his department has been doing a “soft rollout” by training employees on the cameras already in use. The first camera installations began in late June. Cameras are installed at:

  • Sixth and Chestnut (2)
  • Eighth and Oak
  • 12th and Locust
  • 24th and Wismann Lane
  • 36th and Harrison
  • 36th and Broadway

Yates is waiting for approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation to install cameras along roads designated as state highways.

In the past 30 days, the cameras have read more than 620,000 license plates. The department has made 296 law enforcement-related searches (some of which included training), providing 86 “hotlist” notifications. One stolen cargo trailer and two stolen vehicles already have been recovered.

“We’re excited to be moving forward with this project. We’re already seeing success as our officers become more familiar and comfortable with the new technology and more cameras come online,” Yates said. “We’re more confident than ever that this new technology will help us solve crimes and deter criminal behavior with the overall goal of making Quincy a safer community.”

He said he recently learned Illinois passed legislation related to LPR cameras that allow for data retention to be as long as five years. 

“I tell you we remain committed to what we told you we will do, and that is to keep our license plate digital images for 30 days and delete them after that if they’re not used for an investigation,” Yates said.

During the public forum portion of the meeting, Kevin Blickhan asked aldermen about the appearance of city streets. He spoke to aldermen about the issue last week as well.

How many of you, since I mentioned the weeds and all the growth and everything, have noticed it since last week?” Blickhan asked.

After a few hands were raised, Blickhan said, “If you haven’t noticed that before. I appreciate the fact that some of you are noticing it now. It’s an eyesore, and something’s got to be done.”

When Blickhan concluded his remarks, Mayor Mike Troup said he has asked Director of Public Works Jeffrey Conte and others at Central Services about what can be done.

“I know we cannot use Roundup, because it requires a special certification for us to be able to spray,” Troup said. “We’re looking at a bleeds, mix and/or saltwater that can go out. I don’t know that we have enough manpower to get weed eaters out there to take care of it all, but I think if we do a combination of some spraying and getting rid of the extra grass and weeds will definitely start improving the look of that. 

“We’re coming up with a plan. It’s taken a little bit extra time. I know that’s frustrating, but you can’t drive on any block in any direction and not see it. I appreciate (Blickhan for) raising that to our attention.”

Alderman Richie Reis (D-6) said the city could send employees to Springfield to take a test to become certified to spray for weeds.

“The thing with spraying Roundup near catch basins is the (chemical) gets washed into the sewer, which ends up potentially killing the bacteria at the wastewater treatment plant,” Conte replied. “We had an issue where we had killed (weeds) at the wastewater plant … and were subject to fines from the (Environmental Protection Association). There are limitations, such as the license required. It’s also a danger to the treatment process.”

Aldermen also:

  • Gave permission to Friends of the Log Cabin to conduct a raffle from Aug. 1through Sept. 9. 
  • Approved a live entertainment/public gathering license for the Scoreboard, 234 S. Eighth, to hold summer parties with live music on Aug. 9, Aug. 26 and Sept. 23 in the parking lot next to the tavern.
  • Gave the Knights of Columbus No. 583 permission to hold the Knights of Columbus BBQ on Aug. 11-13 on the Knights of Columbus grounds, 700 S. 36th
  • Approved a special event application from Caitlin Kendrick, coordinator of the Quincy to Peoria St. Jude Run, requesting the closure of the west half of Parking Lot F as well as various streets from Aug. 2-4.
  • Approved a special event application from the St. Peter’s Picnic Committee requesting permission to hold its annual parish picnic on Aug. 26.
  • Approved Troup’s appointments of John Scott and Candy Scott to the Quincy Tree Commission for three-year terms.
  • Approved a resolution allowing for PGAV Planners, LLC, to conduct a TIF feasibility study for the proposed TIF South District. PGAV will determine if the proposed TIF district meets the definition of the TIF Act for a “blighted area.” It also will document the lack of growth and development in the area. The city will spend up to $40,000 on the PGAV contract.
  • Approved the purchase of a 2024 Kia Carnival minivan from Shottenkirk Kia in Quincy for $32,637.26. 
  • Approved a quote of $12,473 from QBE Insurance Company through Gallaher for general commercial liability insurance renewal. 
  • Amended the district map to change 1515 State from R2 (two-family residential) zoning to C1B (commercial). A home that was previously at 1515 State was torn down in 2021 and replaced by a parking lot at Hansen-Spear Funeral Home, 1535 State.
  • Amended the district map to change The Crossing, 150 S. 48th, from R1A (single family residential) to C1B (commercial).
  • Approved an ordinance allowing for the demolition of a dwelling at 424 S. 16th while continuing to use the existing garage, with plans to demolish the existing garage, and build a new garage without being required to construct at new dwelling at 424 S. 16th. 
  • Approved an ordinance granting a variation from zoning regulations at Target, 3701 Broadway, allowing for the maximum allowable square footage of a ground sign from 75 square feet to 78 square feet. It also allows for the maximum allowable height of a ground sign from the surrounding grade to the highest point on the sign from eight feet to 13 feet, 3 inches.

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