Sep 26, 2022 - News

Fulton schools to get license plate readers

Flock license plate reader

Fulton County Schools will install 218 automatic license plate readers at entry points on its campuses. Image courtesy of Flock Group, Inc.

Georgia's fourth largest school system will deploy technology growing in use as part of its plan to protect students and staff in the classroom.

Driving the news: The Fulton County Board of Education on Thursday approved a $626,300 contract with Flock Group, Inc., to install 218 automatic license plate readers at entrance points on its campuses.

  • Cameras will also be installed at the district's support, maintenance and administrative centers.

Why it matters: The Fulton County School System, like other districts across the country, is exploring ways it can keep students and staff safe following the May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

How it works: The system uses cameras to record license plates of vehicles entering school campuses and other district facilities. The cameras alert law enforcement agencies when a stolen car or vehicle involved in a crime is recorded with the technology.

  • The district, which has about 90,000 students, says the cameras will be installed by January.

What they're saying: Fulton schools superintendent Mike Looney said in a statement that installing the cameras will ensure that "everyone feels safe" on campus.

  • "We are constantly thinking about ways to secure our campuses and protect students and staff, while protecting their privacy," he said.
  • Data captured by the system will be owned by the school district and won't be shared or sold — unless it's for law enforcement purposes. The data is stored in the cloud and deleted after 30 days, the district said.

Yes, but: Thaddeus Johnson, an assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at Georgia State University, previously told Axios that license plate readers aren't always accurate and said districts should consider if they have the resources to invest and maintain the technology to "get optimal performance" out of them.

Along with more than 150 law enforcement agencies, Flock has 14 education-based customers, which include two public school systems, private schools and some colleges and universities in Georgia, said company spokesperson Holly Beilin.

Go deeper: APS, Fulton schools use technology to beef up security


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