WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — On Sunday, Aug. 14, an early morning shooting in Old Town resulted in one man’s death and the arrest of two others. Officers were able to identify the two suspects after talking to witnesses and viewing Old Town’s video surveillance.
As the suspects fled in a vehicle, it was the license plate readers in the Flock Safety camera system that helped locate them.
“It’s the most transformational technology we’ve ever had in the history of WPD,” said Lieutenant Casey Slaughter with the Wichita Police Department (WPD).
Slaughter runs the license plate reader program for WPD.
“To say we’ve taken some very bad guys and gals off the street that needed to be taken away because of Flock, that’s a fair assumption,” said Slaughter. “We’ve caught a lot of really, really high-profile suspects.”
Slaughter says it also takes a lot of good cop work and hustle to locate suspects in different crimes.
The Flock system does not get a video of speeders or people making illegal U-Turns.
“There is no traffic enforcement aspect to this,” said Slaughter.
But it helps with other crimes.
Valley Center has been using license plate readers since 2021. And they are solving a lot of different crimes.
“Which has ranged from thefts of some air conditioner units where we were able to see the vehicle coming into town empty, and it went out of town loaded,” said Captain Matt Vogt with the Valley Center Police Department. “Also, we work on missing persons, arrest warrants and a felony domestic violence case.”
The license plate readers system does coop information with the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
“We are looking at license plates, make, model and color of vehicles, and it’s just been such a big success,” said Slaughter.
Slaughter says other departments are getting more and more interested.
“We had a department in Akron, Ohio call us just today,” said Slaughter. “They want to know more about how we run. And we have a very robust training system to do it right.”
Slaughter says WPD is running 135 license plate readers across the city.