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License Plate Readers Being Installed

Source: KMBC 9 News | April 27, 2021

After multiple shootings at the Independence Center, people and businesses are fighting back. They want to add at least five license plate readers to the 39th Street retail district.

"The big deal is to alleviate the fear of crime, not only crime, but the fear of crime," said Gary George, executive director of the Independence Police Foundation.

George is leading the effort. He's raised $39,000

"It's really critical that we have this technology in case of missing persons, like Amber Alerts, or Silver Alerts and really helping folks find their stolen vehicles," said Officer John Syme, of Independence police.

The cameras work similar to those found on police cars, but instead they will be installed on light poles. They'll alert police of known felons, wants or warrants. They don't take pictures, so police say privacy isn't a concern.

"If there's nothing on the license plate, it does nothing to harm anyone," George said.

The plate readers will help detectives. Police said that they appreciate that the initiative is led by the community.

"It's up to us to do the things that we can do within our power to make Independence a better place," said Brad Speaks, owner of Speaks Chapels.

"It's a win-win situation. They are giving us a force multiplier by allowing us to have this technology down there," Syme said.

If the pilot program is successful, they hope to add more cameras in other areas like Noland Road and Independence Square.

The license plate readers should be up and running by the end of spring. The system will sync with Kansas City, Overland Park and other areas that already use the plate readers.

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