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Fulton City Council approves purchase of vehicle data-sharing cameras for police


The Fulton City Council unanimously voted to approve an agreement to acquire cameras to identify vehicles connected with crime reports, on Tuesday night.

Resolution 3525-24 allows Fulton Mayor Steve Myers to enter an agreement with the Atlanta, Georgia-based Flock Group, Inc. to acquire cameras and related services for crime reduction. According to Fulton Police Chief Bill Ladwig, the city is looking to start with five cameras which will cost “roughly $15,000 a year.” 

The Flock cameras are stationary and solar-powered. 

“Their purpose, is basically they’re license plate readers,” Ladwig told ABC 17 News. “They’re also a technology that can pick out shapes of tail lights. So say we are looking for a Honda Civic, and that camera system would be able to tell us which Honda Civic just went through the area just based on the shape of a tail light lens. 

“It can also pick out distinguishable features on a vehicle such as bumper stickers. So if somebody came through with a University of Missouri bumper sticker we know it was a white car, we could pick out white cars with MU bumper stickers ” 

Ladwig said the cameras are not designed to identify people and do not work on facial recognition, only vehicle recognition. Fulton police believe it will be an effective tool to help find stolen cars. 

“We had a person one day who was shooting off a gun in a neighborhood and we found him very quickly with the use of the Flock cameras that had been installed by Westminster College,” Ladwig said. 

Ladwig said that the resolution allows for the five cameras that would work with the cameras already installed at Westminster College. Flock cameras can be shared between organizations or agencies across the county.

Cole County already takes part in the vehicle data-sharing program. Last year Cole County commissioners agreed to be one of several counties in Missouri to use the Flock camera along the highway.  Callaway County has also used Flock cameras in a variety of locations. 

Fulton plans to place the Flock cameras in high-traffic areas across the city. 

“There are already some around Westminster College, and North of Fulton and South of Fulton in the county," Ladwig said. "We will find the optimized locations to help us work with the other cameras." 

In December the Fulton Police Department allowed residents and businesses to register their security cameras in a community program that would allow Fulton PD to gather video evidence to help with criminal investigations. Police claim the cameras are only used if they believe the footage will help in an investigation and that the information gathered would be confidential and for official use only. 

While the two programs are different, Ludwig believes the extra cameras will help reduce crime. 

“We want to use Flock cameras to keep a safe town even safer,” Ludwig explained. “Say your vehicle was stolen, you're going to want that vehicle back. If they can help us get it back quickly and in one piece you are going to want that vehicle back in one piece that’s a good thing for you as a citizen.”

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Mitchell Kaminski

Mitchell Kaminski is from Wheaton, Illinois. He earned a degree in sports communication and journalism from Bradley University. He has done radio play-by-play and co-hosts a Chicago White Sox podcast.


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