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Safety cameras with license plate readers coming to Pflugerville

Pflugerville police said the cameras placed in a small community in 2020 helped them recover 19 stolen vehicles and now they are expanding.

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — More than two dozen safety cameras will be installed soon throughout Pflugerville. The cameras will be used by the police department. 

The Pflugerville Police Department will begin using Flock Safety Cameras to assist with investigations and improve safety areas where police cannot always be present, according to the City. 

In six weeks a total of 28 cameras will be placed throughout the city in high-traffic areas with additional cameras in large retail areas, including Stone Hill Town Center and near the Pflugerville Walmart. The use of cameras was approved by the Pflugerville City Council and is funded through a Department of Justice Project Safe Neighborhood grand. The cameras will be operational within a few weeks, a City spokesperson said. 

Flock Safety Cameras contain a license plate reader and take pictures of vehicles as they drive by. The images can be accessed by Pflugerville PD officers up to 30 days after they are taken. The cameras also automatically scan for stolen vehicles and wanted persons. It immediately email or text officers so they can catch the suspect. 

Take a look at where the cameras will be installed:

Credit: City of Pflugerville

The City stated this technology has been implemented by surrounding agencies like Round Rock and has resulted in an increased recovery of stolen vehicles and a reduction in overall crime. 

"Recently [the] Round Rock Police Department, Bee Cave Police Department, Sunset Valley all acquired these cameras," said Pflugerville Police Lieutenant Tyler Summer. 

The first 48 hours of having the cameras, Round Rock had three stolen vehicle hits, one stolen license plate ID hit, and one missing persons hit, and it was used in a homicide investigation."

Summers said they also have had success using it in a community neighborhood.

"In 2020, we were given access by a local HOA to the flock technology system," said Summers. "The neighborhood is the Ridge at Steed's Crossing. Since we've gained access, we've recovered 19 stolen vehicles with the system."

Pflugerville PD developed a policy to ensure responsible use of the camera system, the City said. The policies include a 30-day limit on data storage and access restrictions, employee training, restrictions on when cameras can be accessed and quarterly audits of officer use. 

Flock will reportedly provide a transparency portal that shows what the system is set up to detect, the department's policy on use, the number of cameras, the number of vehicles detected, data shared with other law enforcement agencies and how many searches officers conduct using the system. The information portal will be available on the City's website once it is up and running. 

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