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Palmdale will begin using license plate-reading cameras


Joins Lancaster in pilot program

Palmdale will join Lancaster in using vehicle information collected by license plate-reading cameras placed around the city to aid in law enforcement investigations, after the City Council on July 12 approved a one-year contract with Flock Safety.

The contract has a maximum cost of $157,500 and includes 50 cameras and the associated service to operate them.

The Flock Safety cameras will be used to capture images of vehicles as they pass the camera locations. This information can then be searched and used for identifying stolen vehicles or those suspected in relation to crimes, in near-real-time and at a later time; the data is retained for 30 days.

In addition to recovering stolen vehicles, the information collected can be used to aid in investigations into other crimes, such as missing persons, shootings, hate crimes and others.

The company’s cameras can capture and process 30,000 vehicles per day, and capture two lanes of traffic simultaneously with a single camera, according to the staff report.

Flock Safety’s automated license plate reading cameras analyze vehicle license plates, vehicle color and vehicle make, as well as objects such as roof rack and hubcaps, based on image analytics, which protects against stolen/removed license plates. They do not record any personally identifiable information such as names, addresses, or phone numbers, according to the staff report.

The footage collected is available only to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; city staff may not access it, IT Director Stuart Thompson said.

“It is critical that they do have that footage and share it within the sheriff’s department” to help solve crimes, he said.

Lancaster approved a one-year contract with Flock in November. It is one of the 200 departments using the technology in the state, according to Flock officials.