WHITELAND, Ind. — A central Indiana school district is taking a new high-tech approach to school safety by installing license plate reading cameras at school entrances.
Clark-Pleasant Community Schools is among the first to use the technology to keep crime away from school buildings. The district plans to install two license plate readers each near roads outside Whiteland Community High School and Clark-Pleasant Middle School.
The company who makes the cameras said they're an easy option for schools to stay safe in a thoughtful and ethical way.
"We believe it's possible to reduce crime in the country, while also protecting our civil liberties. Our technology was built to capture the evidence needed for law enforcement to solve crime," said Flock Safety vice president of marketing Josh Thomas.
Flock Safety has license plate readers all over the state, but Clark-Pleasant Community Schools are the first school district in Indiana to sign up.
"They just want to keep the school safe. As a parent, there's nothing scarier than when you leave your kids all day and they might be vulnerable," said Thomas.
The solar-powered cameras cost $2,500 and were paid for with money from a 2018 referendum.
They're not monitored 24 hours a day. Instead, they take pictures of cars and make note of plates and car descriptions. Those images are then checked against several national and local databases.
"What these cameras will do, is they actually work proactively to help police if a known wanted person drives to the school. In real time, police will get that notification. The cameras can recognize if it's a stolen car, a wanted person, a missing person, or an Amber Alert," said Thomas.
When it comes to privacy, the company doesn't use facial recognition. It puts the power in the school district's hands.
"We don't own the footage. The school actually owns all the footage. Secondly, we delete the footage every 30 days," said Thomas.
He said it's all about creating peace of mind.
"Being a parent, I feel so much safer knowing that police get the right evidence to stop these type of crimes," said Thomas.