Through his countywide initiative encouraging partnerships between local law enforcement and the business community, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow presented a check for $5,000 to Manhattan Police Chief Jeff Wold for the purchase of two Flock Safety cameras to be placed on critical roadways in the Village of Manhattan. Glasgow was joined by James Ackley, President & CEO of J.J. Advantage Security, who also presented a $5,000 check to match the State’s Attorney’s contribution. The checks were presented at Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting.
Glasgow has offered to purchase Flock Cameras for any law enforcement agency in Will County who can find business partners to join in helping to protect residents with these technologically advanced video cameras. Flock Safety cameras assist law enforcement in proactively preventing crime by sending real-time alerts to law enforcement when a stolen car or known wanted suspect from a national crime database enters the jurisdiction. When any type of disturbance or crime is reported, a review of the camera data can yield the license plate or plates of those who are responsible.
“It is heartening to see members of the business community recognizing the important role community partnerships can play in enhancing the safety of Will County residents,” Glasgow said. “These advanced video cameras are a significant tool our local police departments can use to catch criminals who are entering Will County and anyone who is in Will County engaging in conduct that threatens our residents. Working jointly with the business community, we are engaging in tangible efforts to reduce crime while also sending the message to would-be-criminals that Will County takes crime seriously. My message to the business community is that the safer the community, the more successful its commercial enterprises will be.”
These special video cameras allow police to search by vehicle make, color, type, and license plate; identify the state of the license plate; capture temporary plates; vehicles with a missing, covered or paper plate; unique vehicle details like roof racks, and bumper stickers; and even vehicles without plates. To protect privacy, these cameras detect license plates and vehicle characteristics, not people or faces.
“When State’s Attorney Glasgow offered to donate two of these special video cameras through his public-private partnership initiative, we immediately reached out to J.J. Advantage Security and they readily agreed to provide matching funds,” Chief Wold stated “The Manhattan Police Department is continuously looking for creative ways to reduce criminal activity and catch those who engage in criminal conduct. These unique video cameras provide another critical tool in catching criminals.”
Village of Manhattan Mayor Mike Adrieansen is pleased to see the State’s Attorney’s initiative come to the Village at little or no cost to residents.
“For the Village of Manhattan, the initial investment to install Flock is estimated at $12,000. As part of a public/private grant, the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office will cover $5,000 and the private partner will donate $5,000,” Adrieansen stated. “These cameras will continue to keep our residents safe without a heavy financial burden.”
Through this interconnected system, the Manhattan Police Department can share and receive information with other connected agencies from nearly 700 Flock Safety cameras throughout the region. Nationwide, Flock Safety cameras are in use in approximately 1,400 cities across 40 states. To address privacy concerns, the company deletes unused images after 30 days. The company does not use facial recognition, and the cameras are not used for traffic enforcement.
“Our business is security, so we understand the critical importance of using every prevention tool possible when it comes to addressing criminal activity,” said J.J. Advantage Security’s Ackley. “We are honored to participate in this cooperative effort to protect our community, and encourage other businesses to join in this public-private initiative.”
The City of Wilmington and Village of Beecher also received Flock Safety cameras through Glasgow’s initiative. All of these contributions from the State’s Attorney are funded entirely with money forfeited by criminals, without the use of any taxpayer dollars.
States Attorney Glasgow previously has used forfeiture funds to promote and participate in partnerships with the private sector to enhance public safety. These efforts include partnering locally with D’Arcy Motors to provide vans to numerous Will County nonprofits serving at risk youths, including the Forest Park Community Center, Spanish Community Center, and the Boys & Girls Club of Joliet; a bus and van to the Will County Veterans Assistance Commission to transport local veterans to Hines VA Hospital and throughout Will County; and a trailer and SUV to tow it to the Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization for opioid awareness education.