The city of Colleyville will soon have 11 more license plate readers installed at eight locations in town.

The cameras, for which the city had budgeted $100,000 in the fiscal year 2023-24 capital improvement program, will be purchased from Flock Safety for $99,990.90. The purchase was approved during the March 19 council meeting.

Police Chief Michael Miller said the cameras will not be used for revenue-generating enforcement, such as insurance, expired tags or speeding violations. Instead, the camera will be used to help locate stolen vehicles, identify missing or wanted people, and aid in law enforcement investigations.

Miller said there are documented success stories for recovering stolen vehicles, preventing crime and finding missing people in Colleyville using the cameras.

If a car is flagged as stolen by the camera reader, the officer will still have to confirm it is stolen before initiating a stop, Miller said.

“The intent is not to watch people, it is not like GPS; all it does is provide a particular time and location when a car went through a fixed location,” he said.

The details

The new license plate readers will be put at eight locations on east-west thoroughfares. All of the new ones will be solar-powered, unlike the existing license plate readers located on Colleyville Boulevard.
  • John McCain Road near SH 26
  • West McDonwell School Road near Precinct Line Road
  • West L.D. Lockett Road near Precinct Road
  • West Glade Road at Hurst city limit
  • Glade Road near Walmart
  • Glade Road near SH 121
  • Cheek-Sparger Road before the city limits
  • Hall-Johnson Road near Pool Road
“Our team took a look at crime trends and patterns and thoroughfares where criminals have used to go in and out of our city where we have not been able to have any kind of investigational leads,” Miller said. “I hope that when we do this, that it creates a second thought in the mind of the criminal. I hope they decide to go somewhere else because it's a much higher risk for them to come into the city of Colleyville and commit their crimes.”

The backstory

Miller told council there has been an increase of retail theft near Walmart and noted an organized retail theft ring has been stealing products from multiple stores in the area. He said the thieves typically leave town by driving west on Glade Road.

Miller said the plate will get cars either coming into or going out of the city, depending on the location of the cameras.

“They'll park back behind where there are no cameras, and they're gone,” Miller said. “This will help us to catch some of those as they're leaving a scene of a crime.”

What else?

Miller said in two of the three armed robberies that happened in Colleyville during his six years as the chief, license plate readers helped identify those suspects. He said within four hours of one of the robberies, the car was located in DeSoto.

The current license plate reader alerts the city if a known criminal’s vehicle is entering the town as well, Miller said. A recent incident of "bank jugging" was prevented due to a license plate reader, he said.

Miller described bank jugging as an instance when someone will go to a bank and watch people come out, and then follow them and ultimately break into the vehicle. He said once a hit happened on the license plate reader, the department sent an unmarked vehicle over to the bank—which was not named—to watch the vehicle that was flagged. He said the suspect left town and was later caught in a neighboring town after a chase.

“We were actually able to take him down and prevent a crime,” Miller said.