Overland Park Police to Get License Plate Readers
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Overland Park police have criminals to thank for some new equipment. The department wants 12 new license plate readers and the city council gave the go-ahead to pay for them with drug money that was forfeited.
Several police departments across the metro have the specialized equipment. It’s a system of cameras mounted to the outside of a squad car that is hooked up to a computer.
Chief John Douglas was eager to get permission from the city council to use forfeiture money to buy his officers new equipment.
“I think it’s time we catch up,” Douglas said. “Olathe, Lenexa, Kansas City and several other agencies locally have used this technology for a while very successfully.”
It didn’t take much convincing especially since it didn’t cost the city or taxpayers a dime.
“These are funds we get primarily through the forfeiture of narcotics transactions and proceeds,” he said.
Chief Douglas sees it as an essential piece of technology. He feels it will make officers more efficient and aware.
“It gives us an idea of who it is that’s going down the street next to us, a little more sophisticated than the old pick up your radio and call in the tag number, but it works much the same way,” Douglas said.
The chief knows the system doesn’t come without some controversy. Almost every department with the readers has gotten some complaints about privacy concerns.
“I want to assure everyone that we take everyone’s privacy to heart and will have policies to protect the privacy of individuals,” he said.
Police hope to have the system installed in patrol cars within the next 30 to 60 days.