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St. Petersburg Police Department to Double License Plate Readers

After undergoing a one-year, no-cost test and evaluation period of 25 license plate readers from Flock Safety, the department looks to deploy 25 more readers within the city.

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The St. Petersburg Police Department is in the process of finalizing an agreement with Flock Safety to add 25 additional license plate readers across the city to help locate cars involved in crimes.

According to a department spokesperson, Flock provided the department with 25 license plate readers to test for one year at no cost as part of a test and evaluation (T&E) period. Now, the department looks to add 25 more license plate readers, bringing the total number to 50.

“That T&E period was deemed successful, so we are finalizing an agreement to enter paid service with Flock, and the initial deployment is planned at 50 cameras,” the spokesperson said via email. “This could be expanded or reduced based on future results. The system effectiveness is to a large degree proportional to the ‘size’ of the deployment in actual number of cameras.”

As for how the technology works, the spokesperson said the license plate readers capture a photo of the back of a car, including its license plate, which is then uploaded to a license plate reader (LPR) system for one year.

Based on the technology’s performance, the department looks to finalize a five-year agreement with Flock for $716,250 to expand its ability to investigate and respond to criminal activity in real time.

The department employs 602 sworn officers and protects around 261,256 residents.
Katya Diaz is an Orlando-based e.Republic staff writer. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in global strategic communications from Florida International University.