The city of Mission Hills recently approved $45,000 to install a license plate reader and traffic camera at an intersection in the city.
Though the ultimate location of the reader has yet to be finalized, city officials said it would likely end up at the busy intersection of 63rd Street and State Line Road, near Mission Hills City Hall.
Prairie Village Chief of Police Byron Roberson, who also serves as police chief for Mission Hills, said license plate readers are used as part of a metro-wide network.
The technology, he says, allows departments across the Kansas City area to check a collective database as part of investigations.
Mission Hills isn’t the first Johnson County city to employ license plate readers at busy intersections.
Late last year, the city of Merriam installed two license plate cameras at the intersections of 75th and King Cove Streets and 67th Street and Carter Avenue.
There are several other intersections and police department patrol cars throughout the county with such technology.
The Shawnee Mission Post recently asked all the cities in our coverage area about their current use of license plate reading cameras or plans to use or install them in the future.
The cities of Mission, Roeland Park and Westwood do not have license plate readers. Here is a breakdown of other Johnson County cities with license plate readers or plans to add them soon.
The city of Fairway doesn’t currently have any license plate readers installed at city intersections. But in the draft of the 2022 budget, the city has included up to $45,000 for potential traffic cameras and license plate readers, City Administrator Nathan Nogelmeier said in an email to the Shawnee Mission Post.
No decisions about specific locations have been made, but it’s likely that the equipment would be installed along Shawnee Mission Parkway, Nogelmeier said. The city may also include vehicle mounted license plate readers, but those decisions have yet to be determined.
The city hase 11 total license plate readers — all of which cost approximately $4,000 each — at various intersections along Mission Road, Nall and Roe Avenues, Tomahawk Creek Parkway and 143rd Street, according to city officials.
Additional license plate readers will be installed across the city, but the details such as how many, specific locations and when they’ll be installed have yet to be determined.
The city of Lenexa has nine license plate reader locations along main thoroughfares like Quivira and Lackman Roads and W. 87th and 95th Streets, Public Information Officer Danny Chavez said in an email to the Shawnee Mission Post.
Chavez said the city also uses four marked patrol cars with mobile license plate readers.
As the city builds out, Chavez said the city will continue to assess its options to expand the program as “license plate reader technology has been a tremendous tool for [Lenexa Police Department] in the twelve years we’ve utilized it.”
License plate readers are already at 67th Street and Carter Avenue, pictured above, in Merriam. File photo.
There are several license plate readers throughout the city of Merriam, Chief of Police Darren McLaughlin said.
The readers are located in areas where the city has “a lot of property crimes,” he said, including several on Johnson Drive, Antioch Road and East and West Frontage Roads.
License plate readers were installed at the intersections of 75th and King Streets and 67th Street and Carter Avenue in late 2020.
McLaughlin said license plate readers are used primarily to alert officers to wanted felons, missing persons and stolen vehicles. The investigations unit also uses them to help identify potential suspects.
Although there are no concrete plans for additional license plate readers, McLaughlin said the city is always evaluating its program and will add more locations if there’s a clear benefit to doing so.
There are two intersections in Overland Park with a license plate reader on each traffic light, totaling eight readers, Public Information Officer John Lacy said.
Although the city would not disclose which intersections license plate readers are at, Lacy said the department will move the readers from time to time if an area sees an uptick in crime trends.
Additionally, there are six patrol cars with license plate readers that are the most sought-after cars for officers, Lacy said. The department is getting another license plate reader soon, and Lacy said it’s likely it will be placed on another patrol vehicle.
Lacy said the car-installed license plate reader technology is easy to use for officers in their patrol vehicles.
“Let’s say a car is coming away from you or toward you, it reads the license tag and makes a little ding sound,” Lacy said. “You immediately look down and it’s in red flashing that that’s a stolen vehicle or the person has a warrant.”
The city of Prairie Village has one license plate reader and traffic camera location at 95th Street and Mission Road, which is a shared location with the cities of Leawood and Overland Park, Chief Byron Roberson said.
The city also has mobile license plate readers installed on patrol cars.
There are eight license plate readers on major thoroughfares in Shawnee, each of which cost the city $4,700, Maj. Jim Baker said. Although the city did have mobile readers in the past, Baker said those are not currently in use.
“We will continue to evaluate the cost and effectiveness of our license plate reader program and may add additional locations in the future,” Baker said.
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