Town officials on Tuesday voted in favor of a contract to install 10 “fixed” license plate readers around New Canaan.
The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved the $32,000 one-year contract with Flock Group Inc.
Funds for the license plate readers already have been approved by the town, officials said during the regular selectmen meeting, held in Town Hall and via videoconference.
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan pushed to have the entire discussion about license plate readers held out of the public eye, in executive session, though Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said that wasn’t necessary and Selectman Nick Williams said it was important for the public to understand what’s going on.
“This is a serious matter—it’s not a PR stunt—and I think it’s important that the folks in town understand that we are purchasing a number of license plate readers using the funds that heretofore have been provided to the Police Department,” Williams said. “And they’re going to be around town. We’re not necessarily going to tell you where but they are in ‘strategic locations.’ ” (Williams by “PR stunt” referred to something that Moynihan had said earlier in the meeting—to be included in this Friday’s “Did You Hear?” feature—here’s last week’s.)
New Canaan Police and parking enforcement officers already use license plate readers in the course of their jobs.
Moynihan, Williams and Selectman Kathleen Corbet approved the contract.
Krolikowski noted during the meeting that coverage is one consideration that will help the company choose good locations for the fixed license plate readers.
“I don’t decide where the locations are necessarily, it’s our detectives that are working with an engineer from the company because they’re solar and they’re cellular, so there’s certain locations where there’s good coverage, and other locations where it’s not good,” Krolikowski said. “But it’s sprinkling throughout town to have a good coverage area.”
The chief noted that New Canaan Police one month ago made arrests in a case that could have turned violent.
“Around 3 a.m. officers were following a couple of cars that were moving close together—typically that involves some kind of criminal behavior at 3 a.m.—and the good news is these folks turned down a dead-end street and bailed out of the cars and they ended up being un-reported stolen vehicles with a loaded gun in one of the cars. And in fact one of the gentleman that we arrested that night—I think there were five, two juveniles and three adults—was just arrested in Norwalk for firing shots off, so that tells you how dangerous these people are. So there’s no doubt this data is going to help us solve crimes and if some of these folks are listening today, maybe they’ll stay away from New Canaan, knowing that we’re going to have these readers out there gathering data and helping us aggressively investigate.”