Everett police supporting plan for public cameras to combat crime

EVERETT, Wash. — The Everett Police Department is turning to new technology to help fight a rise in crime.

“The most obvious one is going to be stolen vehicles –we had 1,250-plus stolen vehicles in 2023, more than three a day,” said Chief John DeRousse.

Police are now supporting an effort to install more than 70 license plate recognition cameras in public spaces across the city.

“The license plate reading cameras are still photos, motion activated, as cars drive by. Maybe a stolen vehicle or maybe it’s a missing or endangered person. The officer will get alerted on their on their cell phone or in their patrol car and then they’ll be able to respond because that alert will say this just passed by this specific location,” said DeRousse.

The city is also looking to add three video surveillance cameras at Hall, Lions and Jackson Parks where they’ve seen an uptick in violent crime.

“We will not have officers sitting here watching cameras looking for somebody doing something wrong. It’ll be used when we’re investigating crimes or if there’s a life safety concern,” said DeRousse.

Any images or video not part of a criminal investigation will be deleted after 30 days.

“I think people aren’t aware of the cameras after a while. They might look at them initially, but then they’ll forget that they’re there,” said Ellen Hawks, an Everett resident.

A meeting and presentation was held Wednesday night in council chambers to discuss the camera system manufactured by Flock Safety.

The deal goes to the full city council next week.

“I think we’re getting mostly support. I think a lot of people, anytime you put cameras and police departments together, they want to know how they’re going to be used,” said DeRousse.

If approved, the program is expected to take six to eight weeks to roll out.

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