MANSFIELD — The Richland County Sheriff’s Office will place license plate reader cameras at five locations, according to Maj. Joe Masi.
The cameras are funded through a state grant and will be placed at “main thoroughfares” in the county, utilizing the same technology being used by the Mansfield Police Department.
Masi and county Engineer Adam Gove met on Thursday with county commissioners, who granted permission for the sheriff’s office to place the cameras on county right-of-way areas.
Commissioners pointed out the cameras are not used to monitor vehicle speeds and no speeding tickets will be issued due to their usage.
The cameras will be mounted at the following sites:
— Bowman Road intersection with Richards Road.
— Bowman Road intersection with Crall Road.
— Plymouth-Springmill Road intersection with Holtz Road.
— Crider Road intersection with Bowen Road.
— Lexington-Springmill Road intersection with Millsboro Road.
“We think the public safety equipment would be beneficial to have in those areas,” Masi said. “We appreciate the commissioners going forward with this.”
The fixed-camera Flock Safety Technology is funded through grants from the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services Project Safe Neighborhood Program. The grants are being administered here and around the region through the Mansfield Police Department.
The technology not only reads license plates, it also can detect a vehicle’s make, model and color, Mansfield police Chief Keith Porch said when announcing the city’s planned usage of the system in February.
The chief labeled the technology a “force multiplier.”
The system then sends information automatically and in real-time to dispatchers and law enforcement officers in their cruisers when it detects a vehicle that is being sought by law enforcement.
For example, if a car is reported stolen in Mansfield, or other communities, the information about the vehicle is entered into the national Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS).
If the Flock Safety camera detects that vehicle, it will notify the appropriate law enforcement agency and provide photo evidence, location, time, etc.
In another example, if a neighborhood has a string of thefts and residents can describe the vehicle, even without a plate number, that information can be entered into the system to include unique information like bumper stickers, decals and roof racks.
Armed with that information, the system will notify law enforcement if a vehicle matching those details is spotted by one of the cameras.
In January, a murder suspect from Nashville, Tenn., was arrested in Cobb County, Ga., some 250 miles away, after a Flock Safety camera identified his vehicle and notified police.