Dane Co. Sheriff touts Flock cameras, hopes to keep devices around

It’s how Dane County Sheriff’s deputies found a stolen car from Chicago.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 10:19 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A stolen vehicle was found by law enforcement on Madison’s north side thanks to a device called Flock cameras.

The camera detected the car’s license plate, which is what alerted authorities. It’s how Dane County Sheriff’s deputies found a stolen car from Chicago.

“It’s new and evolving technology that’s being used in our profession,” Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett said. “This really doesn’t replace our law enforcement services, it enhances what we already do very well.”

Flock cameras are part of a pilot program the Dane Co. Sheriff’s Office has been using over the last year.

“This is a great opportunity for us to use technology to help us in our efforts of keeping and maintaining the peace in the great county of Dane,” Barrett said.

The cameras are placed in areas the sheriff’s office deems are ‘of concern.’ The solar-powered device takes photographs of license plates and if the plate number is listed in the sheriff’s office database as stolen, it will alert deputies in real-time.

Barrett said the cameras are strictly used to keep the community safe.

“The use of these Flock cameras is a fantastic balance between ensuring the privacy rights of our community members, but also in public safety,” Barrett said. “This is not something that we use and keep to take photographs or surveillance of our community members.”

Once the pilot program is over, Barrett said the sheriff’s office plans to keep Flock cameras around.

“We put it in next year’s budget and that’s currently on the table of the County Executive,” Barrett said. “From there, with approval, it will move on to the County Board and then we will be able to continue the use of these cameras that are helping us keep and maintain the peace.”

The car tracking system doesn’t just help identify stolen cars, it can also help identify vehicles related to missing and endangered persons, AMBER alerts and Silver alerts.

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