Bartholomew County cameras to scan license plates on highways

A new type of traffic camera will be reading the license plates of every vehicle entering Bartholomew County on Interstate 65 and U.S. 31, under a proposal approved by the County Commissioners Monday. However, the county promises not to use the devices for traffic enforcement.

Capt. Chris Roberts with the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department presented an agreement that would acquire four of the cameras at a cost of $11,000. The cameras have the ability to read license plates and quickly process those against a database to alert deputies with various pieces of information, such as the plate of a stolen vehicle, or a vehicle suspected in a child abduction or missing persons case. That information would be processed within moments and then forwarded to on-duty deputies via a computer program in their vehicle, Roberts said.

Roberts said it would be used as an investigative tool and a deputy would always be assigned to further explore the information provided. Roberts and County Commissioner Tony London stressed that the system would not be used for traffic enforcement such as automatically writing speeding tickets.

The county plans to get four of the cameras and position them to survey the north and south entrances to the county on U.S. 31 and Interstate 65. If successful, the county could add more cameras at other strategic locations, Roberts said.

The county will have a 60-day trial period with the cameras and then a full year contract.

Commissioners voted to approve the agreement with Flock Safety at their Monday meeting.