EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — East Providence is preparing to install nearly two dozen Flock Safety cameras that will take photos of vehicles and drivers’ license plates.
The city council voted unanimously at its May 2 meeting authorizing the mayor to enter into a five-year agreement with Flock Safety, a private vendor, on behalf of the police department.
The contract comes at a cost of $297,700 and will be funded by the city through asset forfeiture money, according to Police Chief Christopher Francesconi.
Flock cameras are active in several other communities across Rhode Island and have been touted by police departments as an investigative tool to help solve crimes. But opponents including the ACLU say the cameras raise privacy concerns.
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The cameras take photos of every car that drives by, creating a database for police to search for vehicles that may be wanted in connection with a crime. The police can also create a “hot list” of wanted vehicle plates, allowing the camera system to alert detectives when the car drives by a Flock camera.
Francesconi addressed the council before its vote on Tuesday night, saying 22 fixed cameras and one portable camera will be installed across the city.
“Cranston has them, Warwick, Providence and I hear tremendous success stories of how these cameras have assisted their police officers in solving crime,” Francesconi said.
Francesconi declined to release the locations of the 23 cameras to Target 12, saying the information relates to the detection and investigation of a crime.
The date of installation and activation has not been finalized, but Francesconi expects it to happen in about three to four months.