West University Place City Council unanimously approved the final acceptance of the Virtual Gate Project, a $4.5 million security camera and license plate recognition system that has been installed around the city.

Council approved the project at a May 23 meeting, but officials first proposed the security camera system in 2017 as a crime deterrent, Police Chief Ken Walker said.

Installation of Virtual Gate began in 2019, and by the end of that year, the city’s police department used the system on Buffalo Speedway at Bissonnet Street, and at Holcombe Boulevard at Belmont Street, Walker said.

Phase 2 of the project began in 2021 and now covers a total of 40 intersections.

“I am very happy to tell you the installation is complete,” Ken Walker said at the May 23 council meeting.

Similar systems have been implemented in New York City, Miami and New Orleans, Walker said.

The city contracted with Minuteman Security Technologies to complete both phases of Virtual Gate.

“I just think it's an amazing increase in the pie for the police department—the things you can do with it,” Mayor Susan Sample said at the meeting.