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Sheriff to ask for license plate readers

Sheriff A.J. Smith plans to approach Franklin County commissioners next month for help in securing automated license plate readers to be used at strategic locations throughout the county.

He is stressing that their purpose will not be to issue traffic citations, but to assist in the apprehension of criminals who would otherwise “fly under the radar,” so to speak.

These license plate readers, which lease for about $2,500 per year per camera and can be either fixed or mobile, take a picture that can be fed into a computerized system that compares plate numbers to thousands being sought for anything from child abduction to fleeing a crime scene to wanted criminals.  Providers include such companies as Vigilant Solutions L5Q, Flock Safety Falcon and Rekor.

“It’s a good way to help find people that are missing,” Smith said. “They’re not used to generate revenue, and we would not be using them to write people tickets.”

He said he was impressed with the technology, which was able to locate in Naples a person missing from Eastpoint in a matter of a half-hour.

He said no locations have been determined yet, although the bridges within the county appear to be likely sites.

“I’ll discuss it with the county and the cities,” Smith said. “I’d want the cities to help with the expense. “

He said he’ll abandon the idea if the majority of the people are opposed to it. fearing privacy intrusion.

“This is just to make the county safer,” Smith said. “Having technology to help us solve crimes is important.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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