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St. Matthews Police to invest in surveillance system to identify stolen cars

Flock Safety cameras have already been adopted by agencies across Kentucky, including Louisville Metro Police.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Police in one Louisville suburb will soon be getting a new tool to track down stolen vehicles and enhance safety in the process.

Flock Safety camera systems have already been adopted by law enforcement agencies across Kentucky, including Louisville Metro Police (LMPD).

And now the St. Matthews Police Department plans to join the initiative.

Police Chief Barry Wilkerson believes the license plate readers will lead to quicker arrests, closed cases and fewer high-speed chases -- and potentially help other agencies in their criminal investigations.

"It could be an investigation, even a homicide, where we can track down where that vehicle was when it hits different cameras throughout the city. It gives us a time stamp," Wilkerson said.

The high-tech security cameras can often be installed on utility poles near traffic lights to help identify stolen cars and plates quickly, which are often connected to other crimes.

"[They can] help us identify anyone who's wanted who comes in [our area]. We can plug that information into the camera system and create a hot list, and then we'd be able to track those individuals, where they go," he said.

More departments being on board means a wider range for agencies to be able to share what gets flagged, speeding up criminal investigations.

This could even help in non-violent incidents, like in the case of folks getting their purses stolen at a St. Matthews gas station weeks ago.

Wilkerson tells WHAS11 the technology, which the department will try out for around $2,500 a piece, will also keep the community safe from collateral damage -- lessening the chance officers would need to initiate a chase.

"It usually involves an accident with them or someone else," he said. "You've accomplished basically nothing, so this will make it more effective."

Wilkerson says they'll be looking into some of the heavier areas of road traffic for implementation, including Shelbyville Road, Breckenridge Lane and the Watterson Expressway.

The exact timeline for installation isn't set yet.

Wilkerson also addressed the privacy concerns many have voiced. He is assuring the community the data is only stored if it relates to a criminal investigation, otherwise it gets deleted.

A couple weeks ago, LMPD told Metro Council they have more than 120 Flock Safety cameras installed throughout Louisville. They say the cameras have spotted more than 200 stolen cars, in a month's time.

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