Trial run of license plate-reading cameras in Tooele met with mixed reactions

Oct 6, 2022, 8:54 AM
(KSL TV)...

TOOELE, Utah — Sophisticated license plate-reading surveillance cameras have been making their debut in the city on a trial basis, but already they’ve proven polarizing to residents as police have worked to clarify exactly how and under what circumstances they will be used.

According to Lt. Jeremy Hansen with the Tooele City Police Department, the city recently installed 10 Flock Safety cameras in various neighborhoods.

Currently, Hansen said, the city is looking at purchasing four cameras at a price tag of about $15,000 with the potential for a fifth camera being funded by some local businesses.

“There’s only five officers per shift and that includes one sergeant, so you have four patrolmen,” Hansen said. “It’s really hard for us to be everywhere in this city all at once with five officers, so we’re hoping the system can be an ‘eyes-and-ears’ for us and alert us to stolen vehicles, vehicles that we’re looking for in relation to violent felonies. But besides that, it can also alert us to missing and endangered people, welfare checks, silver alerts and Amber Alerts, so it encompasses and does a lot of things we’re really hoping helps Tooele City and (its) residents.”

Hansen said the cameras aren’t monitored live, 24/7. Instead, he said officers log in at the beginning of the shift and if there are alerts about, say, stolen vehicles or vehicles related to missing and endangered cases, the officers receive text or email alerts.

According to police, officers can also search the system for vehicle descriptions and plate numbers, but the officers must have a legitimate law enforcement purpose and a case number to do so.

“You can’t see if the driver is male or female, you’re not looking into the interior of the car — that’s not the purpose of this,” Hansen said. “We’re not trying to spy on our residents and see what they’re doing.”

Hansen said he believed roughly 1,500 other law enforcement agencies in the country were using the system, as were some other agencies in Utah.

“This is simply to come up with the license plate and the description of the vehicle,” Hansen outlined.

Hansen said the city and police department were evaluating the use and effectiveness of the system for about a month’s timeframe.

“We understand that this is taxpayer money,” Hansen said. “We hope that it is a force multiplier for us.”

Comments were mixed on the police department’s Facebook post about the new technology.

Residents were as well when KSL TV interviewed them on Wednesday evening.

“I just don’t like it,” said Linda Thorpe. “I don’t like anything that’s encroaching on our privacy.”

Darcee Oliva said she saw value in the cameras.

“I think it’s great that they have the technology to be able to find more stolen vehicles, more suspects,” she said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Mike Anderson

Hardware WMA sleigh rides return after two-year hiatus

For the first time in two years, sleigh rides up the Blacksmith Fork Canyon are back — where families can see herds of elk and get a winter meal.
19 hours ago
Shop small to support local businesses...
Tamara Vaifanua

How shopping small this holiday season makes a big impact at local stores

There’s a big push this holiday season to shop small, as in small business. The locally owned, Tutoring Toy, right off Foothill Boulevard in Salt Lake City, has a lot to offer.
19 hours ago
FILE: Attorney General of Utah Sean Reyes arrives onstage to pre-record his address to the Republic...
Bridger Beal-Cvetko

Qatar paid for Utah AG Sean Reyes’ trip to see U.S. World Cup match

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes spent the Thanksgiving weekend in Qatar, after the Middle Eastern country's government paid for his airfare, lodging and tickets to see the United States and England
19 hours ago
Orem school crossing...
Ladd Egan

Orem plans temporary traffic signal at intersection where student, crossing guard hit

Temporary traffic signals could soon be installed at the intersection where an elementary school student and a crossing guard were hit this week, according to the city engineer for Orem.
19 hours ago
remote learning after snow storm...
Katija Stjepovic

Canyons School District quickly switched to remote learning after Friday’s snowstorm

Friday’s early morning storm impacted multiple school districts across the Wasatch Front. Several districts adjusted start times and some even canceled classes.
19 hours ago
project safe neighborhood...
Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Federal partnership is helping keep Salt Lake violent crime down, city says

Salt Lake City leaders say violent crime remains down in the city thanks in part to their continued partnership with federal law enforcers.
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Trial run of license plate-reading cameras in Tooele met with mixed reactions