License plate reader cameras to likely be installed in Wausau next year

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 2:38 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wausau Police Department is expected to have a new tool at its disposal next year.

The city has accepted a grant to install 20 cameras with the sole purpose of reading and detecting license plates. At least 20 other Wisconsin cities are already using the technology.

Deputy Chief Matt Barnes said the cameras will allow officers to work more efficiently.

“We can be reactive and proactive in crime,” he said.

Barnes explained the cameras can also aid in locating people reported missing, such as those with dementia.

Flock, the company that provides the cameras, reports 70% of crime involves a vehicle. Locating vehicular evidence will help police solve crimes more quickly.

A timeline for installation hasn’t been finalized, although Barnes said it will likely happen in January to align with budgeting time. The city council passed the motion 7-2 on Tuesday night.

Funding beyond the initial year has not yet been secured. The cameras are leased and the ongoing cost is $2,500 per year, per camera.

In May, license plate recognition cameras played a major role in the detection and arrest of a Wausau bank robbery suspect.