Local News

Ottawa to implement license plate readers around town

Commissioner says gives police ‘capability to identify a vehicle when there’s been an incident’

An agreement with the city of Ottawa and the Illinois Department of Transportation allowing the Ottawa Police Department to place license plate readers around town was approved by the council Tuesday, although the police department doesn’t know yet where the readers will be placed.

These readers aren’t attached to vehicles, Commissioner James Less said. Instead, they will be stationed at certain places in the city to take pictures of license plates as they pass and police can access them for use in Amber Alert situations or to investigate a string of burglaries, for examples.

“It basically gives the capability to identify a vehicle when there’s been an incident,” Less said. “We can go back and use these readers because we know these places and we can get the make and model.”

The motion authorizes the city of Ottawa to install these readers, which were purchased in July at the price of $35,000.