The Michigan City Police Department released the following statement explaining details about their Flock Camera System Transparency Portal:
“Most people have heard of the Flock Safety Camera System, but do you know what it is and what it does? Equally as important, do you know what it does not do? Chief Forker and his administrative team believe transparency is paramount to keeping the community fully informed. With this in mind, the Michigan City Police Department is introducing the “Transparency Portal” for our Flock Safety- Falcon Cameras. By clicking on the link below you will get direct access to the portal. You will be able to review items such as what is detected, what’s not detected, acceptable use, data retention for the system and the total number of vehicles detected, just to name a few of the features.
“While the Transparency Portal should answer most, if not all, questions regarding the Flock Safety system, the Michigan City Police Department would like to provide additional information regarding the history of the Flock Safety system, privacy and the system’s utilization in Michigan City.
“The Flock Safety company was founded in 2017 for the purpose of preventing and solving crimes. This technology is not limited to just law enforcement agencies. Businesses, Homeowners Associations and Neighborhood Watch groups across the country have also purchased Flock Safety cameras to help keep neighborhoods safe. Over 2000 cities, in 42 states, currently use Flock Safety cameras. Nationally, 7 out of 10 crimes involve the use of a motor vehicle… either driving to commit, or fleeing from, a crime.
“The Flock Safety company has a variety of camera systems to meet the needs of law enforcement, businesses, Neighborhood Watch groups etc. The Michigan City Police Department utilizes the Flock Safety- Falcon camera system. This style of camera is a stationary license plate reader that simply takes images of motor vehicles as they pass by the camera lens. The images are compared to Federal, State and Local law enforcement databases. For example, if someone is wanted for the crime of Murder and traveling in a known motor vehicle, the motor vehicle will be entered into the Federal, State and Local law enforcement databases by the police agency that obtained the arrest warrant. Once the known motor vehicle passes by a Falcon camera, the Flock Safety system will compare that image of the vehicle to the information in the referenced databases. If the image is a match, an alert will be issued by the Flock Safety system to law enforcement personnel working in the area of the camera. With any luck, the Officers would be able to locate the vehicle and ultimately affect the arrest. The Flock Safety system will perform in the same manner for other motor vehicle matches such as an Amber Alert from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children or a Silver Alert for an endangered adult.
“The Falcon cameras do not collect any personally identifying information. The system does not collect any information on who is driving or riding in a motor vehicle, nor does it capture images of pedestrians or passersby. The Falcon cameras only take a picture of the rear of the motor vehicle as it passes by. These images are retained for 30 days in a searchable database before being expunged.
“The Flock Safety camera system has been active in Michigan City since late January of 2023. There are currently 30 Falcon cameras and 4 square miles of Raven (shot detection). The Falcon cameras were immediately successful in helping to solve crimes. One of the first major incidents where the Falcon cameras played an important role was the March 29, 2023, shots fired call on Hayes Avenue. A residence was hit by gunfire and a vehicle that was parked at a daycare next door was hit by gunfire too. Very quickly, investigators were able to determine a suspect vehicle, from the Falcon camera images, and input that information into the law enforcement databases. A short while later, the suspect vehicle passed by a Flock Safety camera in Lake County and an alert went out. The vehicle was pulled over by Officers working in that jurisdiction and two arrests were made. Our Falcon cameras have also been locally successful during investigations into shooting/shots fired incidents, auto theft, leaving the scene of an accident, warrant arrests etc.
“At your convenience, please take a moment to visit the transparency portal and learn more about the Flock Safety system and our Falcon cameras. If you have a question that was not answered in the portal, please contact us for the answer.”