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Lake County Commission rejects crime-fighting cameras recording vehicles, tags along county roads


Dozens of newly installed private cameras that photograph cars and read license plates have popped up around Lake County.

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Standalone cameras that photograph cars and record license plates were place all around Lake County. Photo: Josh Blake[/caption]

But the crime-fighting technology company Flock Safety put them along county roads without permits, and they'll have to be removed.

County Commissioner Josh Blake says there are 98 cameras collecting information on residents.

"I am furious about this, and I think that our legal department needs to contact this company and give them 24 hours to get these devices that they did not follow the law to install in the first place the heck out of Lake County," he said.

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The commission on Tuesday ordered them removed. It plans to require special approval for any surveillance technology on county right-of-ways.

"Who’s to say they’re not sharing this with the feds, or whatever," Blake said.  "I think we’ve all seen, regardless of your political background, that surveillance technology can be abused. And I’m very concerned about that and the privacy of Lake County residents."

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Flock Safety has been doing a pilot program with the Sheriff’s Office to sell the agency on its technology.

Company VP Josh Thomas says they’re in 40 states and work with hundreds of law enforcement agencies.

The company says they capture public information on public roads and delete the data after 30 days. The cameras help solve Amber Alerts, auto thefts and other crimes.

Thomas says the missing permits were a matter of “honest miscommunication.” 

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.