HP DPS Considers License Plate Reader Cameras

The town of Highland Park is considering implementing license plate readers and artificial intelligence to supplement police patrol in crime prevention and investigation.

Director of Public Safety Chuck McGinnis briefed the Highland Park Town Council on this technology during the Jan. 23 study session.

The cities of University Park and Dallas use license plate reader technology, and some private businesses in Highland Park and University Park either have or are getting the technology. 

“What law enforcement tries to do typically is create tools to better combat criminal activity,” McGinnis said. “This is a tool that has been developed and created and substantiated over time through other agencies that enhances our ability to not only investigate crime but be proactive in patrol.”

The company Highland Park would use for license plate reader technology would be Flock. The town already uses Flock’s database for other jurisdictions, but an upcoming update will require jurisdictions to have their own cameras to access the information as of March 2024.

“If we know that a black Hyundai Elantra with (a specific) temporary tag is committing crimes in the area, we can implement that into the database and say, ‘Hey, if this comes into our jurisdiction, notify patrol,’” McGinnis said.

Flock charges $3,000 per camera per year with a $750 installation fee.

“Ten to 15 cameras at strategic locations throughout town would give us an idea of who’s coming to and from town,” McGinnis said.

Following the Jan. 23 discussion, the town will look at numbers for budget consideration and have the town council vote on the program’s implementation at a future meeting.

“My idea with this is to start the LPR technology then eventually move into some more grand capabilities,” McGinnis said.

Town staff has also communicated with a company called Common Objects that provides AI technology to learn what they can offer the town as a crime-prevention solution.

In other news, during the Jan. 23 meeting and study session, the Town Council:

  • Was presented with the rank and badge pinning of new Deputy EMS Chief Zach Sitton.
  • Reviewed, discussed, and referred to the town’s zoning commission a request to amend the site plan of Highland Park Village to allow for adequate parking for a cafe in Dior.
  • Reviewed and discussed the annual comprehensive financial report and related audit for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.
  • Reviewed, discussed, and approved a contract for the purchase and installation of traffic signal equipment upgrades at the Mockingbird Lane/Byron Avenue and Preston Road/Beverly Drive intersections.
  • Reviewed and discussed the monthly financial and investment report for the period ending Oct. 31.
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