Central Indiana school district to install license plate readers near entrances

Education

WHITELAND, Ind – Clark-Pleasant Community Schools will soon install several license plate readers at school entrances in an effort to increase safety and catch individuals who shouldn’t be on school property.

The Clark-Pleasant Schools Board approved the purchase of four license plate readers, made by Atlanta-based Flock Safety, at a cost of $2,500 per camera, per year.

“It would give us that immediate alert to let us know that there’s somebody on campus that could be or might be an issue,” said Clark-Pleasant Schools Police Chief Chad Pryce.

The move comes as more central Indiana police agencies turn to license plate reading technology as a way to know when vehicles connected to criminal activity are in their area. The Flock Safety system scans passing license plates and runs them against local and national databases for stolen vehicles, vehicles registered to violent felons, registered sex offenders, individuals with outstanding warrants and more.

In the next six to eight weeks, Chief Pryce expects the cameras to be installed near entrances to Whiteland Community High School and Clark-Pleasant Middle School.

“If somebody that is dangerous, or has the potential of being dangerous, is in or around our campuses, we just want to know,” Pryce said.

While no single incident in Whiteland inspired the move, Pryce said there have been robberies in the area where a suspect has driven through a school parking lot after school hours. In such an instance, the system would have triggered on the license plate as being involved in a crime and the alert would have been sent out and shared with surrounding agencies.

The system will also allow Clark-Pleasant officials to add license plate numbers to their own hot list.

“We’ve had people that have wanted to come into a building that have been turned away for one reason or another,” Pryce said.

Purchasing and installing the devices is part of ongoing discussions about school safety that ramped up after the 2018 shooting at Noblesville West Middle School. Money for the license plate readers comes from money raised by a school safety referendum that Clark-Pleasant voters approved later in 2018.

Other area school districts could also take similar action at some point. While Flock Safety officials said Clark-Pleasant is the first Indiana school district to buy their technology, officials at Center Grove and Avon schools said they are discussing it. Perry Township Schools use similar technology made by Motorola.

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