Green Bay police want more license plate reader cameras

A plan to add cameras and pay for 3 years of service passed a city committee
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 4:36 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2022 at 10:23 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Green Bay police are seeking to expand the number of license plate reader cameras across the city after making a major arrest a few weeks ago.

City council members approved three years’ worth of funding for the cameras, but now police are asking city officials to increase the number from 28 to 40.

According to city records, the total cost would be $332,000, with the city using some COVID relief dollars.

Police Chief Chris Davis says the license readers allow his department to run more efficiently as they deal with an officer shortage.

“A police officer cost about $100,000 or so a year with pay and benefits. This is the cost of one full-time employee to have coverage in 40 different places in the city,” Davis said.

And alders are on board.

“This to me just seems to be a common sense progression. I hate to say it but catching criminals is an expensive business. and we need to be able to equip our police department with the tools that allows them to be effective at their jobs,” Green Bay Alderman Brian Johnson of District 9 said.

The cameras were credited with helping to locate and arrest 31-year-old Alejandro Cantu on September 1. He was wanted for the murder of Randall Denny in April.

Investigators say they were notified that Cantu, after fleeing to Texas, returned to the Green Bay area. A vehicle he was traveling in was identified by one of the cameras, leading police to a hotel where they made the arrest.

“It’s a very valuable tool, and for exactly that reason. And if it’s used in the right way, if it’s used in a way that respects people’s privacy and their civil liberties, we can still do a lot of good with it in terms of solving crime and crime reduction,” Police Chief Chris Davis said.

A city committee approved increasing the number of cameras. Now it will go before the full city council next week.

Police asked for more cameras and funds for 3 years, touting the technology's help in a major arrest