The process of obtaining license-plate recognition cameras on each end of the Key has not exactly happened in a snap.
The late Longboat Key Police Chief Al Hogle first suggested the system in 2010.
But the town is moving forward with plans for the cameras, which will snap photos of license plates, but not drivers, entering and leaving the Key in approximately 250 milliseconds and immediately send the data to the Florida Crime Information Center. The information sent would notify the department if any of the images taken contained information about a stolen vehicle or relating to a wanted or missing person alert.
According to Police Chief Pete Cumming, the town has narrowed down its pool of vendors to three from about a dozen that bid on the project. The town met with those three vendors Wednesday, Aug. 29.
Cumming declined to discuss costs until the contract is finalized or when the project will likely be completed but said that work on the system could begin within a month.
The town will work with the Florida Department of Transportation and FPL to determine placement. Most likely, two cameras will be installed on a single pole on each end of the Key, for a total of four cameras.
When Hogle began to work on bringing cameras to the Key, he encountered hurdles because FDOT only allows law enforcement to place red-light and toll-violation cameras in its rights of way. Hogle had determined that placement on polls on the side of the road would be possible, although it would make it more difficult for the cameras to capture data.
Although exact placement still needs to be determined, the cameras will be placed in a location in which data can be captured from each vehicle coming over either bridge.
Cumming has witnessed how similar camera systems work.
“It’s a wealth of information that these cameras capture,” he said.
At press time, Police Chief Pete Cumming was scheduled to provide an update on license-plate cameras and a five-year analysis of crime trends on the island during the 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4 Longboat Key Town Commission meeting.
For a meeting recap, visit YourObserver.com.
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].