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Greensboro City Council discusses ways to improve public safety; license plate readers installed

Piedmont Triad News

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — License plate readers have been mounted in several Greensboro intersections as a way to improve public safety, according to Greensboro Police Chief Brian James. 

The department is not releasing the exact locations for readers, which could help officers locate suspects.  

A spokesperson for the department said Wednesday the cameras will be operational in several days when software is installed and staff members are properly trained. 

James announced the cameras had arrived during Tuesday night’s city council meeting.  

Councilwoman Yvonne Johnson asked James if using other cameras to zero in on high crime areas would help reduce crime. He replied that it could, but there are challenges. 

“It would fall under the same restrictions as the body camera does as far as being able to release it publicly…but we could certainly use them in criminal investigations,” he explained. 

To help recruit and retain more officers, Mayor Nancy Vaughan asked council members to reconsider a take-home vehicle policy for officers.  

“We’ve heard stories that we very recently lost two officers to High Point. High Point does have take-home cars,” she said. “My understanding is this is a big benefit to the police department, and it equates to somewhere between $3,000-$5,000 per year.” 

Councilwoman Sharon Hightower wants to know more about the cost and where officers live before supporting the idea.  

“I don’t want our community to feel like they’re being watched, they’re being overpoliced. You’ve got cameras on every corner, police cars all in the neighborhoods,” she said Wednesday. 

She wants people to feel safe and supported and pointed her questions to James about additional racial equity training for officers. 

“It only comes up when times are tense,” she said. “Then it’s a subject we don’t talk about it, kind of dies down in a way, but it’s important. It’s too important for us not to continue the dialogue.”  

James said Tuesday that funding for additional training was recently approved. He anticipated the money to be available in December.  

Vaughan said she asked the city manager to bring a proposal for a take-home vehicle policy before the council in November. 

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