Mount Prospect to hire two more cops, install license plate readers
Mount Prospect is dedicating some additional money to backing the blue.
The village board Tuesday approved spending nearly $269,000 to hire two additional police officers, and another $140,000 to acquire 24 license plate reading cameras.
The two new officers, along with three more hired in 2022, brings the police department's total officer count to 88.
"It gets us back to where we want to get. It helps out the officers on the street. It helps out the community," Police Chief Michael Eterno said.
Eterno said the additional officers are needed for a variety of reasons, from a rise in crime and gang activity on the northeast side of the village, to officers taking time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act. In the past four years, he said, officers have used 7,120 hours of leave, equating to nearly 900 shifts.
For the license plate readers, the village is entering into a two-year agreement with the Flock Group Inc. for 23 fixed cameras and one mobile camera. The village will use federal asset seizure funds to cover the initial $140,000 cost, then budget an additional $64,000 per year to cover the system's operational costs.
The cameras are able to detect license plates of passing motor vehicles and notify law enforcement if one reported stolen or linked to a crime is spotted.
Eterno said the Flock system played a key role in capturing the suspected Highland Park parade shooter on July 4.
The system is integrated with the FBI's database of stolen vehicle warrants, as well as the Illinois State Police database and Amber Alert system. Information the cameras obtain that is not part of an investigation is deleted after 30 days, officials say.
"Police enforcement has solved a lot of crimes using Ring (doorbell) cameras and things like that. This is another tool to try to solve crimes," Mayor Paul Hoefert said. "In this day and age, it just feels like we have to move in this direction."