A federal grant could allow the Lubbock Police Department to add more license plate-reading cameras to Parking Enforcement vehicles.
"It's nice that it gives us another tool, so when somebody's car comes up missing we can recover it. The computer keeps track of times whenever cars are illegally parked," said Lubbock Police Sgt. Jason Lewis. "Stolen vehicles, and if an Amber Alert maybe goes out - something like that - we can put in if there's a suspect vehicle tag that we have, then we can put that in and as it would drive through parking lots, it would alert us to where that vehicle was when it went past."
It will only happen if the city approves a federal grant worth more than $160,000 at Thursday night's city council meeting. If passed, the grant will be split between the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office and the Lubbock Police Department.
The cameras are small. There are two of them on each vehicle, pointed at a 45-degree angle, mounted on the front bumper. The cameras are also fast. They can scan license plates at up to 65 miles per hour and instantly send the data to a computer in the vehicle.
Texas Tech University has had great success with similar technology.
"It actually makes the job a lot more efficient," said Managing Director of Transportation and Parking Services Eric Crouch. "We've actually used them to eliminate parking stickers and hand tags, which really helps with our sustainability efforts on campus."
The cameras have saved the university $60,000 a year, but even with positive results, there is no guarantee that LPD will equip more cameras.
"This has been going since June, so we'll watch that and kind of get a read on how effective it is and if it's something that we need more of as a city grows..."
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