DULUTH, Ga. — Deployed by nearly every metro Atlanta police department, Flock Safety cameras are not only helping find stolen cars in real time, but are also helping police solve other crimes.
Most recently, Duluth police say their detectives used the system in partnership with Johns Creek to find and arrest a suspect involved in a deadly hit-and-run.
“We believe these cameras have made our community safer on many fronts and have been a game-changer in policing for the Duluth Police Department,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
The high-tech license plate readers are mounted on poles, are solar-powered and are about the size of a football.
The Flock cameras capture an image of the back end of each car that passes, recording the make, model, color and any distinctive features along with the tag.
On May 5 around midnight, the driver of a white SUV hit Christopher Kinion, 60, at the intersection of Peachtree Industrial and Howell Ferry Road in Duluth, but kept going.
Kinion died days later at the hospital.
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Within hours of the crash, Duluth officers contacted Johns Creek police and asked to search their Flock system.
One of their 20 cameras, installed on Abbotts Bridge Road leading into Fulton County at the river, picked up what turned out to be the SUV involved in the hit-and-run.
“They went into our system and could literally search that timeframe, and any trucks that match the description of the eye-witness account and find the one suspect vehicle that fit that description,” said Josh Thomas, Flock Safety’s vice president of communications.
Duluth detectives then contacted the registered owner at his home in Johns Creek and found front-end damage to his SUV.
Police arrested Davendra Gautam, 59, who is now charged with homicide by vehicle.
“It’s amazing to be able to solve some of these crimes and help people, because I can’t imagine me as a family member losing somebody then not having a tip to go on,” said Lt. Deb Kalish of the Johns Creek Police Department.
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