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License-plate cameras to snap data by late July

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  • | 4:00 a.m. July 17, 2013
License-plate camera recognition systems were installed on both ends of the Key two weeks ago.
License-plate camera recognition systems were installed on both ends of the Key two weeks ago.
  • Longboat Key
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Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cumming expects license-plate recognition cameras on each end of the island to be operational by the last week in July.

Contractor L3 Communications installed the cameras two weeks ago on both ends of the island, but, before they can begin capturing data, dispatchers will undergo training to become familiar with hardware.

When operational, the cameras will capture data from license plates — but not images of cars or drivers — to run them through state and federal databases.

If the vehicle isn’t stolen and the registered owner of the vehicle isn’t wanted by authorities and has a valid driver’s license and tag, no one will see the data, according to police.

But, if the databases show an issue, police will receive notification.

The late Longboat Key Police Chief Al Hogle first proposed the idea in 2010 to the Longboat Key Town Commission.

But the idea spent three years entangled in bureaucratic red tape.

The Florida Department of Transportation wouldn’t allow for placement of the cameras in its rights of way, and Florida Power & Light Co. told the department it couldn’t place cameras on its poles.

Police don’t want to publicize the exact locations, but there will be a total of six cameras placed on the Longboat Key sides of the New Pass Bridge and Longboat Pass Bridge on town equipment, which is not located in FDOT rights of way.

The cameras will not require additional training for police officers, according to Cumming.

For now, the cameras won’t come with signs warning drivers that their license-plate data will be captured when they drive onto the Key — but that could change.

“It would be a matter of whether signs would enhance the deterrent factor,” Cumming said. “Obviously, we’re not keeping it a secret, but one element of this program is that if people know they’re wanted, they’ll know that their information will be captured.”


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