Bartholomew plans to buy more plate-reading cameras

Bartholomew County is making plans to buy more cameras to scan license plates on county roads, looking for stolen vehicles, those involved in abductions or whose owners are wanted on outstanding warrants.

Bartholomew County Commissioners agreed at their meeting this week to support a proposal to add five more cameras to the existing network of four cameras.

The camera system, known as FLOCK, was purchased by Bartholomew County last year. The cameras are positioned to watch traffic coming into the county. They have the ability to read license plates and quickly process those against a database to alert police with various pieces of information, such as recognizing the plate of a stolen vehicle, or a vehicle suspected in a child abduction. That information is processed within moments and then forwarded to on-duty deputies via a computer program in their vehicle.

Columbus and Bartholomew County law enforcement has touted the camera system for its help in several recent cases. Capt. Chris Roberts with the sheriff’s department said that the cameras have been used in 11 cases since being installed.

Commissioner Tony London stressed that the camera system is not used to catch speeders or traffic offenders, instead being used for serious crimes.

Commissioners approved spending $27,400 for the five new cameras. The money would come from drug forfeiture funds.