Campus Security

Purdue University Installs License Plate Reading Cameras

The Purdue University Police Department in West Lafayette, Ind., recently announced that it is partnering with public safety technology company Flock Safety to install six automated license plate reading (ALPR) cameras around campus. A news release reports that the department has signed a one-year contract to test the Flock system, joining the Lafayette and West Lafayette police departments as law enforcement agencies deploying the technology.

“Incidents involving students being shot by Splat or BB or airsoft guns this past spring semester were difficult to investigate,” said PUPD Chief John Cox. “We often had video from our campuswide digital video system to give us basic vehicle information, but no license plate information could be obtained. The Flock system will allow us to search for vehicles based on a video and victim description and obtain a license plate number to use to continue the investigation.”

The Flock Safety ALPR cameras are designed to capture license plates and vehicle characteristics instead of people, according to the university news release. Plates associated with reported crimes—such as stolen vehicles or owners wanted on warrants as documented by state and national databases—trigger a real-time alert sent to officers. Vehicles associated with missing persons in AMBER or Silver Alerts also send notifications to law enforcement.

Purdue has also deployed an updated policy around the ALPR system’s usage. Data will not be sold or shared with third parties, and each vehicle search will require justification.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].

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