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Sunriver Police plan to add automated license plate readers at 2 community entrances; public has mixed views

(Update: Adding video, comments from Sunriver police chief, area residents)

SUNRIVER, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Sunriver Police Department held a public forum Monday to share information and answer questions about the planned addition of automated license plate readers at the two main entrances to the resort community.

The solar-powered cameras from Flock Safety will be installed at Sunriver’s Cottonwood Road entrance and on South Century Drive near the main “waterfall circle,” hopefully by July, officials said in a June article in the Sunriver Scene, published by the Sunriver Owners Association.

Police Chief Stephen Lopez told us Tuesday, "There have been numerous incidents over the last year, couple of years where this technology could have greatly aided in our investigation,"

The cameras would initially cost the department $14,000 for the equipment and installation, with an ongoing cost of $12,000 a year.

With a department of just nine, the police chief believes the two cameras would provide valuable extra eyes.   

"Some of them involve some violent crime. Some of them are significant property crimes where being able to identify a vehicle would have helped us, either solve those crimes or expedite the solving of that crime, " he said.

Lopez said the addition will help fight crime by providing police officers with a notification if license plates appear in the National Crime Information Center’s database and have been recorded as stolen, involved in a crime or connected to an Amber Alert or Silver Alert.

“These can and will help with some criminal activity, both in Sunriver and regionally,” said Lopez, who gave a presentation last month to the SROA and Sunriver Service District boards.

“Sunriver will be one of several other law enforcement agencies (in Deschutes County” to implement these readers,” the police chief said.

 At the Sunriver Village on Tuesday, residents we spoke with had a variety of reactions.

Jamie said, "I'm mixed on them, and I think it could cause a lot of work for them."

"I don't think we need, to tell you the truth," he added. "It might help with finding people and stuff, but with the smaller police department this is, I think it's just going to be a lot of work."

Some fear the technology would compromise personal data, others in the area Tuesday were unaware of the program.

Lopez told KBND that he'd heard privacy concerns from residents but assured the device won't record vehicles' speed and the data it records will be deleted after 30 days.

Bend Police don't have the solar-powered, stationary license plate readers, Communications Manager Sheila Miller told NewsChannel 21.

"But we do have ALPR (automated license plate readers) on our in-car camera systems that were installed last year," she wrote. " That technology was discussed at city council meetings. She shared the following Bend PD policy on how they are used.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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Isabella Warren

Isabella Warren is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Isabellahere.


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