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LRPD set to receive more license plate readers

After over a year of planning, LRPD's Real Time Crime Center is coming to fruition with the addition of 75 license plate readers to help improve city safety.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Excitement is an understatement at the Little Rock Police Department, especially with the growing Real Time Crime Center.

"We're happy with where we are and we're looking forward to the future," LRPD Public Information Officer Mark Edwards said. "It's huge. It's a game changer for us."

Live cameras around the city track crime as it happens, which LRPD said allows for more thorough and detailed investigations.

"One particular situation that I can recall, there was a car and we were able to read the license plate," Edwards said. "We were also able to see some things on the back of the car."

Normally, LRPD could ask the public to keep an eye out for a specific license plate on a car they're looking for. However, with license plate readers, LRPD can receive alerts when a car they're looking for is driving through an area.

The notification can also tell police where the car is heading.

"The fact that we have a license plate reader, we know the vehicle is stolen," Edwards said. "Once we stop that vehicle, or we retrieve that vehicle, that possibly impedes a criminal from making another crime."

Currently, there are 33 license plate readers around Little Rock, but the department said that's changing soon.

"With the new set of 75, we're going to be able to take some of these cameras and move them," Edwards said. "They have the capabilities to move, which will allow us a little more freedom to keep track of more things."

The 75 new readers won't just be used to track stolen cars. Edwards said they can also track Amber Alert and Silver Alert vehicles if they're spotted.

"If our LPRs alert us, then we'll be able to definitely see where that vehicle is, track it live and possibly prevent someone from losing a loved one," Edwards said.

With additional cameras on the way, Edwards said they're ready to see the impact.

"It's a big deal... this is a game changer for us," Edwards said. "It's something we started planning about a year and a half ago, and now to see it where it is... you're excited about the future."

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