Ponce Inlet police chief pushes for license plate reader cameras

City Council to meet, vote Thursday evening

PONCE INLET, Fla. – Ponce Inlet's police chief told News 6 on Wednesday that he's hopeful the city will approve new license plate reading technology. 

"If you are a bad guy, you don't want to be coming to Ponce Inlet," police Chief Frank Fabrizio said.

Fabrizio said the devices are essentially surveillance cameras that record only the license plate of every vehicle that passes. The four devices that have been proposed would cost about $43,000. He said the money has already been approved as part of the department's overall budget.

"If a stolen car is coming in here, my officers that are working are actually going to get a ping on their computer the someone there, that they are coming into town -- a sexual predator, a sexual offender -- if the person has a warrant on them, if their license is suspended." 

Fabrizio said any residents concerned that the technology crosses the line of Big Brother should be assured the cameras only take an image of the license plate, not the driver. 

"If you're coming into town and your license isn't suspended and you don't have a warrant on you, your car is not stolen, you know, we are never going to look at that material," Fabrizio said.

He added that given Ponce Inlet's geographical shape, the technology will make it hard for criminals to go under the radar. 

"Technology is a wonderful thing. It's perfect for this town, because, like I said, there's only two streets in and out," Fabrizio said.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office, Daytona Beach Police Department and Port Orange already use the license plate reading software. 

Volusia County officials said they made 10 arrests in the first 14 hours of testing two cameras in Deltona.

Ponce Inlet City Council will vote on whether to approve the devices Thursday at 6 p.m.

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