Mayor, Chief urge Council to expand Flock program

Mayor Linda Gorton and Police Chief Lawrence Weathers today asked the Urban County Council to move ahead with an immediate expansion of the Flock license plate reader program.

“Our Flock pilot project began in the spring with just 25 license plate readers scattered throughout our community,” Mayor Linda Gorton said. “Even though the pilot project is not a year old, the technology has already more than proved itself on Lexington’s streets. It’s time to move ahead with full implementation of the program by adding 75 additional license plate readers. To meet the challenges of the future we must continue to modernize the tools our law enforcement officers have.”

Chief Weathers said, “This technology is the future of policing, it allows us to focus on criminal activity, and helps bring relief to victims of crime.”

Gorton said the City intentionally started the program off slowly. “We did our homework, checking first with the ACLU, NAACP and Human Rights Commission to make sure we had a policy in place that provided the right balance of personal freedoms and safety.

During the pilot project, the locations of the license plate readers were not made public, but that will change after the installment of the additional 75 readers. 

Locations for all license plate readers will be and are determined with the assistance of Flock Safety and based on traffic patterns and crime reported, by the public, to the police department.

The readers take still photos of license plates and compare them to license plates entered into national crime databases or license plates wanted locally for investigations. Police officers use the photos in investigations and to help them solve crimes. They are not video monitoring devices, and they are not used to catch speeders.

Following is a summary of the actions police have taken since our pilot project began with the assistance of evidence gathered through just 25 license plate readers:

The total value of recovered vehicles: $1,465,710.64

Stolen Vehicles Recovered: 95

Stolen License Plates Recovered: 12

Investigative Leads: 39

Warrants/Subpoenas Served: 130

Missing Persons Located: 11

Total Number of Firearms Seized: 36

Total Number of Charges Placed: 455

Total # of Individuals Charged: 165

The Mayor already included funding for the additional license plate readers in the current budget, which was approved by Council. The total cost is estimated at $236,250 annually. An additional vote from Council is required to move the program forward now.

“I think the numbers make it clear – we need to move ahead and fully implement this program,” Gorton said.                                                        

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