Warren Police Department to deploy license plate readers

Cameras mounted across city will integrate with similar technology in police vehicles

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published October 12, 2021


WARREN — The Warren Police Department is adding a high-tech tool to their crime-fighting arsenal in the form of automatic license plate readers.

A battery of 22 ALPR cameras capable of reading the plate on a vehicle traveling 100 mph will be strategically positioned across the city as part of a 60-day trial. After that, the City Council voted to purchase a two-year contract with the sole-source vendor, Flock Safety, at a cost of $60,500 in the first year and $55,000 annual for each year after that.

Council members voted unanimously to approve the agreement on Sept. 28.

Deputy Police Commissioner Robert Ahrens told the council the technology mirrors what was installed previously at the Warren Manor Apartments, on Dequindre Road south of Nine Mile Road. ROCO Real Estate, Warren Manor’s management company, had cameras installed as part of a comprehensive security upgrade, to track vehicles coming and going and assist police tasked with responding to crimes there.

Holly Beilin, director of communications for Flock Safety, told the Warren Weekly previously that the cameras are “laser focused” on pinpointing details investigators need to solve crimes. She cited company statistics indicating that 7 in 10 crimes are committed using a vehicle. In addition to reading the license plate, the cameras capture other details and allow images to be searched by vehicle make and model, color, and even accessories, like roof racks.

The Flock system was installed at Warren Manor in August with the support of the Warren Police Department. Beilin said the company encourages partnerships with law enforcement, including monitoring access.

Ahrens told council members that the Flock technology would integrate with the Axon Fleet 3 system installed for the department’s in-car cameras.

“The reason we went with this company, or we are choosing this company, is that we already ordered Axon video equipment that we have in the scout cars,” Ahrens said. “The timing worked out just perfect.

“Every car that we have will have license plate readers,” Ahrens said. “This will allow this company, their databases mesh with the Axon system and allow us to bring all that information seamlessly together. It will also allow us to get instant access to the Flock system at Warren Manor, and then local departments that have also started using this equipment will also be able to gain access to it.”

Beilin said the technology includes “significant” features that address “both safety and privacy.”