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Davenport Police adding more tools to help solve crimes

Davenport Police are adding more technology to help catch felony suspects and solve car thefts.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Davenport Police are adding more technology to help catch felony suspects and solve car thefts.

Davenport Police have two cars with license plate cameras on top. The cameras can scan more than 3,000 plates an hour, matching the info with a crime database. If the car is stolen or in the crime database, it sends officers an alert.

"Once the camera detects a license plate on the hot list, once it finds a match, then the officers have the ability to verify and then take law enforcement actions," Davenport Police Assistant Chief Jeffery Bladel said. 

Bladel says the department got the cameras in August 2019 and now want to expand.

"This allows the officers to rapidly read and match license plates in a more efficient and effective manor," Bladel said. 

 The city of Davenport is spending $200,000 on more cameras for the department.

"$200,000 is a lot of money, but in the grand scheme of things, giving our police department the tools they need to do their job more effectively and more efficiently is worth the money."

The camera saves all the plate information it scans, helping police use the information for other possible crimes.

"It can help with Amber Alerts, suspects wanted in felony crimes, and and all crimes associated with vehicles. We have the ability to add those to our detection list," Bladel said.

Davenport police say since this time last year, car thefts are down by more than 30 cars.

"I'm not saying fully that this technology is attributed to all of the cases of the stolen vehicles, but it definitely was a part of the overall enforcement efforts," Bladel said.

Bladel says they will install the additional cameras on more squad cars and in fixed locations. They are even considering adding the cameras on high traffic stop lights.

"Possibly in areas where we have frequent shots fired calls," Bladel said. "We could add them in areas where there are frequent dumps for stolen cars."

"This is a way where we can spend a little bit of money and give our police department better resources to reduce crime, specifically crime that we know is impacting our city," Gripp said. 

Davenport city council will vote on where to get the additional cameras from, which will help determine how many more they get.

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