Manatee County Sheriff’s Office finding success with license plate cameras

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Over the past few months, the Manatee County Sheriff’s office has been using license plate cameras to help in their investigative work and it’s already helped to solve crimes.  

The department has five squad cars equipped with license plate camera equipment and they also have two mobile message boards with cameras on them as well.

Officials tell us since September, the cameras have led to three homicide arrests. The system has also helped deputies recover 22 stolen vehicles, 15 stolen license plates, five wanted suspects and two missing people.

One of the homicide suspects that was caught was Andrew Thompson, who was charged for murdering two people inside their home on 15th Street East in January.

The cameras quickly scan license plates as the cars drive by and enter the numbers into national databases, looking for search warrants, BOLOs, Amber Alerts, etc.

The Longboat Key Police Department has been using them for nearly 4 years and it has led to many solved cases.

Police Chief Pete Cumming pointed out the cameras were a huge help in the recent case of bicyclist Michael MacCormick. Recently, the Canadian tourist was riding a bike when he became the victim of a hit and run.

Thanks to the license plate cameras, they were able to arrest the suspect, 29-year-old Michael Rowe Jr.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office says the cameras cost roughly $15,000 each. But they’re happy with the success of the program, so they’re hopeful they can purchase more.

News Channel 8’s John Rogers will have more on this tonight at 5:30 pm.

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