NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodGreen Bay


Green Bay PD: New license plate reader cameras intended to battle violent crimes

Screen Shot 2022-07-18 at 11.43.25 PM.png
Posted at 11:59 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-20 14:25:48-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — When you're driving, expect there to be cameras in many places, and the Green Bay Police Department has added more to specifically keep an eye on your license plate.

"I feel like the only concern that I would maybe have is if I'm accidentally going a little bit over and I get a ticket in the mail or something," Madelyn Kersten said.

But others say they are not worried about their privacy at all.

"I think they're just trying to catch criminals and protect & serve, which is their job," Eric Giffin said.

"Sounds like it would make the community a little safer," John Landry said.

Green Bay Police Captain Clint Beguhn says the cameras — installed at the beginning of the month as part of a free trial — do not enforce traffic laws, nor do they recognize people.

Instead, he says they're intended to battle violent crimes.

"We've been looking for ways that we could work on that problem," Beguhn said. "Technology is one of those ways."

Police say there are 28 license plate reader cameras installed on major roadways throughout the city.

Beguhn says pictures are captured on the back license plate, and stored in a database for a month.

He says in some cases, the cameras have paid off.

"The first use of it was on a shooting, when its description of a vehicle that left an area at a specific time," Beguhn said. "We searched for a 15-minute window along the route the truck was traveling."

Beguhn says the camera captured the license plate of the truck, and officers made an arrest within a couple of hours.

Giffin says police do not want someone in trouble.

"They want you to behave," Giffin said. "So I trust this department more than any department I've seen."

Beguhn says most of the routes where the cameras are installed can see up to 20,000 cars a day.

Beguhn says at least 70 law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin are using some form of license plate readers.