BUDA, Texas (KXAN) — The City of Buda just added itself to the growing list of places in Central Texas using license plate reader cameras.
The Flock safety cameras first started in Buda at the Garlic Creek subdivision after the neighborhood’s HOA decided to put them up.
“Basically take a digital finger print of the back of the vehicle. Not just the license plate where it can run that plate, but other features like decals or dents or any imperfections of the vehicle,” Buda Police Chief Bo Kidd said.
Now that the city council gave approval, six cameras will be installed throughout the city.
“We’ll definitely have them in the downtown area where a lot of traffic passes through from east to west. We’ll have them probably around the large retail areas as well,” Kidd said.
The chief said the information from the camera can help them solve one of their most common crimes: vehicle burglary.
“We have a vague description of the vehicle. But that’s not really enough to have a workable lead to take the investigation to the next step. Where this does absolutely give you a lot more information,” Chief Kidd said.
But this was not a unanimous decision. Councilmember Paul Daugereau voted against the proposal at Tuesday’s meeting. He said there should be investments in other areas instead.
“The money would be better spent on giving police officers raises, buying new cars,” Daugereau said.
Now that its been approved, Kidd said one of his main priorities is training officers on protocols when they get an alert of a stolen vehicle.
“Somebody associated with that car could have a warrant, but it may be somebody else driving that car. Doesn’t mean that we’re just going to stop the vehicle. It’s incumbent on the officer, according to our policy, to validate that information,” the chief said.
For this first year, the cameras will be funded by a $20,000 grant the police department applied for. Kidd said they’ll track how well the cameras help with investigations and will then decide if they want to keep using them.