FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – The Flagler County Sheriff just doubled — almost tripled — the number of license plate readers in his county and made them mobile.
By putting them into every single patrol car.
Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said LPRs (license plate readers) can make the difference between a 10-minute delay and catching a crook immediately.
Laptops and cameras are already in every patrol car in Flagler County, so when Staly learned the next generation of both of those could give his deputies the ability to read and verify license plates on the road in real time, he went all in, based on the success of his first few cameras that are not mobile.
Those are mounted on signs and lights across the county and have caught sex offenders, fugitives and even America’s Most Wanted.
When the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office upgraded patrol car cameras and the laptops, Staly purchased the license plate reading option for every single patrol car - all 125 in Flagler County.
“It makes it a lot easier,” Staly said. “Before, when we first started our fixed LPRs and they got a hit, and we knew that (a suspect is) going Northbound on US 1 (for example), we had to find them. It was kind of like finding a needle in a haystack.”
Every alert is verified either by the deputy who got the alert or in the sheriff’s office’s Real-Time Crime Center, where all camera feeds and radio calls are routed.
If the alert is valid, all patrol cars in all areas will immediately get information on the license plate to be on the lookout for.
“We should not miss a stolen vehicle, fugitive, person of interest, whatever it is because of all these checks and balances,” Staly said.
It still comes down to a wanted license plate passing in front of a plate-reading camera, but now with the fixed readers covering almost 50 lanes of traffic countywide and 125 more mobile readers, Staly said it’s a lot harder to hide in his county.
“If I can find (a suspect) before they prey on our community, we will never know how much crime is prevented because of this technology,” Staly said.
Staly said crime in Flagler County is now down 54% since he took office in 2017.
USA.com just named Palm Coast the second safest city in America. Palm Coast is one of the fastest-growing cities in Central Florida and the United States.
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