At a news conference in February, Kansas U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran announced a $132,000 grant to help the Great Bend Police Department fund its license plate reading camera program. Police Chief Steve Haulmark told the City Council Monday night he has been notified that those funds are available.
“I received a couple of questions, so I just wanted to kind of update everybody,” he said. “We currently have 12 (fixed location) cameras,” all at the city’s entrances and exits.
This money will pay for six additional six cameras and two mobile ones that can be mounted on patrol cars, he said. “The reason that would be a benefit to us is because currently, if a vehicle is entered into a national database as being monitored for a crime or somebody being a registered sex offender, it makes us aware of their presence coming through our city.”
But, “we don’t know necessarily where they’re going” and the portable units will help with that.
Overall, “we’ve had some moderate success with cameras that we have,” Haulmark said. He cited a couple of burglaries last week where the cameras helped law enforcement in Pawnee and Stafford counties identify and locate the suspect.
In a nutshell, the system snaps pictures of license plates as vehicles pass, as well as pictures of the vehicles themselves. While they could be viewed in real-time, they are also stored in a searchable database, Haulmark said.
They can search by make, model and color of a vehicle, and even specify if there is damage. They can also search by plate number, partial plate number and state.
This will help spot cars and trucks suspected to be involved in crimes, help in Amber Alert and Silver Alert situations, and in other cases.
The system will communicate with hundreds of other cameras throughout Kansas so a wanted person’s movements can be tracked statewide. In addition, he said this system will alert nationally to any plate listed in the National Crime Information Center network.
As for the new units, “we haven’t we haven’t established yet where those cameras would go,” the chief said.