GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Green Bay Police Department will soon have 40 license plate readers throughout the city. Chief of Police Chris Davis says the readers will benefit the department during investigations.

“The way the cameras are set up it doesn’t take a picture of who is driving the car it takes a picture of the back of the car with a license plate number and what the back of the car looks like,” explained Davis. 

The department began using the readers in July and was recently approved by the Green Bay Common Council to purchase more. Davis says during a testing period the readers have proven to be helpful when catching criminals.

“The pilot program that we did with these exceeded everyone’s expectations. Just for example on Sunday, we found out about five different stolen cars driving through the city at different times that we never would have known were here,” said Davis.

The readers will be placed near major intersections in the city and will be on twenty-four seven. The department must have concerning reasons to search for plates. “There has to be some legitimate public safety purpose for using these cameras or inputting a license plate number to have it alert us when it sees that, like it is a stolen car, it is associated with a missing person, or it is associated with a crime,” stated Davis.

The readers will delete photos of plates every 30 days. Davis says they will serve the department and keep residents safe. 

“The cost of this program for a year is about what we spend on one police officer for a year in pay and benefits. For that cost, we can have 40 of these, plus two cameras that are mobile deployable. What that is going to do is allow us to hold criminal suspects accountable and keep the community safer,” said Davis. 

The department expects all 40 of the readers to be up and running by the end of the year.