RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – License plate readers have become a vital tool for law enforcement agencies across North Carolina. But as the technology continues to expand, the company that’s installed them locally, Flock Safety, isn’t licensed in the state.
“It was an unfortunate situation that we got into with this Alarm Board altogether,” said Josh Thomas, the VP of policy and communications for Flock Safety.
In late October, a judge in Wake County barred the company from installing or servicing cameras on its own because Flock is not licensed in North Carolina. However, the ruling does allow that work to continue if it’s done or supervised by an authorized third party.
“I’m just very thankful that the court has made the right decision here in allowing us to continue to operate and service this critical technology that’s helping provide these public safety goods. That’s frankly what it comes down to is, how can we help keep North Carolinians safe?” Thomas explained.
Despite this, UNC-Chapel Hill, which continues to explore options to increase campus security, terminated its contract with Flock because of the licensing issue. In part, a spokesperson for the university said, “We remain committed to working with a license plate reader vendor that will help us accomplish our safety goals.”
Flock’s cameras are currently in use in several communities locally, including Raleigh, Garner and Wake Forest.
In Garner, police say the technology has helped them capture 47 stolen vehicles so far this year, as well as finding three missing juveniles.
And in Wake Forest, cameras helped police track down three stolen cars within 24 hours of the technology being available.
“Our mission is to eliminate crime and do it in a safe and effective way, and we’ve been able to do that very well across the state of North Carolina, we hope to continue that operation,” said Thomas.
Thomas says Flock is going through the process of obtaining the proper licensing.