Police will hold a public meeting on Tuesday to explain their intention to install license plate reader cameras | Politics

The Tulsa Police Department will hold the first in a series of public meetings on Tuesday to explain its plan to implement a camera system to identify vehicles by their license plate numbers and other distinguishing features.

TPD is partnering with Tulsa Crime Stoppers to host the meeting, which will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Spirit Life Church, 5345 S. Peoria Ave.

“One thing we would hate is for people to have these preconceptions or misconceptions about what TPD wants to do with these cameras,” said Councilman Jayme Fowler, whose district includes the Hope Valley neighborhood. . “And it’s just good to have some healthy dialogue and dispel some of the concerns and myths around what TPD wants to do with the cameras there at 61st and Peoria.”

Police Chief Wendell Franklin said earlier this month that the 61st Street and Peoria Avenue neighborhood – an area long plagued by violent crime – would be the first location where cameras would be installed .

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Mayor GT Bynum in December signed a memorandum of understanding on behalf of the police department with Flock Safety to supply the cameras.

Bynum and Franklin pledged that the city would consult with residents before police install cameras in a neighborhood.

The License Plate Reader Program is a partnership between Flock Safety, Axon Enterprises, Inc. and the National Police Foundation to participate in a year-long study of the effectiveness of the technology.

Under the terms of the agreement, Flock Safety will provide Tulsa police with 25 cameras free of charge for one year.

Motion-activated cameras will not record video or audio but instead take still images. The cameras will be clearly marked and the police will not monitor them in real time.

Flock Safety spokeswoman Holly Beilin said the cameras cannot be used to time a vehicle’s speed, verify vehicle registration or assist in repossessing a vehicle.

Tulsa police policies, meanwhile, prevent officers from using alerts they receive from the camera system as the only probable cause to stop a vehicle.

Police have previously said they plan to install cameras in high-crime areas of the city, with six to nine cameras for use in and around 61st Street and Peoria Avenue.

Tulsa Crime Stoppers executive director Karen Gilbert said Tuesday’s meeting won’t focus exclusively on the new camera system.

She said she plans to talk about the initiatives TPD and Crime Stoppers are partnering on to prevent crime and open lines of communication between residents and police.

“It’s about everyone working together and making this area a safer place to live, work and play,” Gilbert said.

The police department is in the early stages of creating a real-time information center that would include installing video cameras in different parts of the city that would be monitored 24/7 by sworn officers. and civilians.

A fully deployed state-of-the-art center would cost $7-8 million.

Franklin said that figure would cover the construction and equipment needed to operate the center in the Police Courts Building, with additional annual expenses related to staff and software updates.

The license plate reader program is intended in part to provide the public with a better understanding of how technology can be used to prevent crime and keep the community safe, according to police.

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