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Madison County adding license plate cameras to help solve crime, not everyone happy about it

Posted at 11:20 PM, Oct 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-20 23:20:29-04

ANDERSON — In an effort to prevent and solve crime the Madison County Sheriff's Department and the Anderson Police Department are adding license plate reader technology to their communities.

Both departments say they are adding what are called flock cameras to read the license plates of cars.

The agencies say they will use them in criminal cases and in an instance when a person goes missing.

Some are in support of the cameras one person told WRTV they feel more cameras need to be downtown.

"This is one of the most exciting things to me that has come along in decades," Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger said.

The flock cameras are utilized in roughly 110 agencies across the state.

The cameras will capture license plates and brief descriptions of cars.

"We coordinated with flock utilizing our crime statistics to identify the geographical areas and locations for the cameras that we felt would be the most beneficial," Anderson Police Chief Michael Lee said.

Some folks, like Cody Jones, are for the cameras to an extent.

"I think Anderson has been long overdue for a reduction of crime," said Jones. "As long as it's used to specifically locate criminals and only for that purpose and not to entrap and create higher ticket volume for the people in Anderson, I think it's a fair idea."

Police say the cameras can't track speed, so they won't be used to issue tickets to residents.

Still, some residents don't like the cameras.

"I'm not sure if it's really legal," Georgianna Reed said.

Reed has lived in Anderson for a long time and said she sees both sides but still has concerns.

"Isn't that an invasion of privacy?," Reed said. "Keeping track of where you're going. Your movements. That's what I am concerned about."

Police say the cameras aren't watched regularly and are only used when needed.

The footage is stored for 30 days and deleted after that.

The cameras have already been effective in other agencies.

The Zionsville Police Department got the cameras in 2021 and they say they utilized the cameras daily.

"They've been a huge tool for us we have a number of successes," Zionsville PD Captain Drake Sterling said. "We have a number of successes in the criminal and the safety world as well. Like silver alerts, amber alerts things like that."

Sheriff Mellinger said policing has changed a lot since he first started as a deputy, and he welcomes the change with open arms.

"This is one of the most exciting tech advances in law enforcement in a long time," Sheriff Mellinger said.

The Madison County Sheriff's Department says they already have their 10 cameras up and operating.

They have been using them for about two months and have already used them to solve 15 to 20 cases.

The Anderson Police Department will be getting 21 new cameras by the end of the year.


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