SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A nearly $20,000 grant approved this week will put more cameras on light poles at busy Springfield intersections.
Known as “Flock cameras,” they are used to take pictures of license plates which police can then use to track suspects.
Springfield already has 21 of these cameras. With this grant, they’ll add seven more. Police tell OzarksFirst they use Flock cameras every day.
“We have intersections that are highly traveled that we’re not monitoring,” said Springfield Police Department Capt. Culley Wilson. “And so more cameras just allow us a better tool of apprehending suspects.”
Wilson says the department has already seen success.
“It does not replace good detective work, good investigations, or good police work,” Wilson said. “It’s just a tool that we can use right now.”
Zone 3 Councilman Brandon Jenson voted in support of the grant.
“If folks care about public safety, then they also need to care about the evidence that the city is able to collect,” Jenson said.
He tells OzarksFirst part of the reason he voted to approve the grant was because of the shortage of police officers in the city.
“I think it’s really important to be providing them with every tool possible to help with solving crimes that occur in our community and being able to do it using grant funds, I think is a slam dunk,” Jenson said.
Wilson says there are some misconceptions about these cameras.
“The camera is not positioned where we’re looking to see who’s in that vehicle,” Wilson said. “We’re not taking pictures of your face. We’re not doing facial recognition or anything like that.”
He says the Flock cameras are a tool to fight crime, not to monitor Springfieldians during their daily lives.
The information gathered by the Flock cameras is only kept for 30 days.
“It’s to fight crime,” Wilson said. “It’s to make the city safer. It’s to get suspects off the street.”
The additional cameras are expected to be put up on various intersections by spring or summer of 2024.