MADISON, S.D. (KELO) — Cameras that can read the license plates of cars passing by have been installed in Madison. They can even detect things like stolen cars and warrants.
The Flock automated license plate readers are installed all over Madison and some of the first of their kind in South Dakota.
“What they’re used for is to track stolen license plates, stolen vehicles. We can use them for amber alerts, silver alerts, those types of things,” Madison police chief Justin Meyer said.
Meyer says the cameras are motion activated and only take photos of the back of cars, which helps with privacy concerns.
“They’re not used for speed enforcement. They’re not used for traffic light enforcement or anything along those lines,” he said.
They’ve already installed nine across town, and they’re looking to add more.
“They’re going to let us test a total of 25 for approximately 90 days, and then at that point in time we’ll figure out which 10 are giving us the best return for our money,” Meyer said.
Madison Police say on Monday, the cameras flagged a stolen vehicle. The driver, 47-year-old Shane Jensen was wanted in other counties and faces multiple charges including possession of stolen property. The passenger, 50-year-old Kristy Williams, was wanted in Codington County for multiple theft charges.
And on Tuesday the cameras flagged a stolen vehicle from Sioux Falls. 33-year-old Ariana Farmer is now facing charges for stolen property and open container.
“We’re all concerned with solving the crime as soon as possible and with at least incident as possible. This gives us the opportunity to do what you saw happen the last couple days,” Madison Mayor Roy Lindsay said.
“I think most people realize that it enhances the safety of our community and hopefully will continue doing so moving forward,” Meyer said.
Lindsay says the system costs around $25,000 and was paid for with money from the city’s general budget.