Granby board approves new police department license plate cameras

Granby Board of Trustees approved the lease of six license plate reader cameras at its meeting on March 14, 2023.
Flock Safety/Courtesy photo

The Granby Board of Trustees approved the lease of new Flock Safety license plate reader cameras for the Granby Police Department at its March 14 meeting. The board also approved the police to accept a Justice Assistance Grant from the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice to pay for the cameras.

Granby Chief of Police David Shaffer and Flock Safety representative Hector Soliman-Valdez presented to the Granby Board about the cameras. Shaffer explained how license plate cameras work differently than regular security cameras.

“They have what’s called an automatic license plate reader built into the camera,” Shaffer said. “The camera functions in a way that it only provides you a small snapshot of the rear of the vehicle, with some certain vehicle identifiers and a license plate.”

Shaffer said the cameras would act as a “force multiplier” for the department, increasing traffic safety and helping to investigate crimes.

Soliman-Valdez explained how Flock provides license plate cameras for a lower cost than competitors by installing and maintaining the cameras as a subscription service for $2,500 per year per camera. 

Flock Safety’s cameras have an automatic license plate reader that provides a small snapshot of the rear of the vehicle, with some certain vehicle identifiers and a license plate.
Flock Safety/Courtesy photo

The cameras only register license plates and delete their data after 30 days, Soliman-Valdez said. The system alerts police when it spots a stolen vehicle, and police can search through its data when looking for a suspect. Flock also has a transparency portal so community members can see how police use the system.

The grant will provide $17,100 to cover the six cameras the Police Department will purchase. Schaffer said the department will assess the effectiveness of the cameras after a year and potentially ask for the town to fund them in future years.

A public commenter expressed concerns about the cameras being too intrusive in their data collection, and trustees discussed whether the “Big Brother feel” of the cameras would cause concern. Mayor Joshua Hardy said he understands the “Big Brother” aspect, but thinks that the cameras will be helpful in a growing Granby’s community.

“I think this would have been a great tool to have when we have the catalytic converters — the vehicles coming through here at night and cutting catalytic converters off,” Hardy said. “Unfortunately, I think our crime is gonna go up with our growth, and I think this would be a good tool for our P.D. to have.”

The board unanimously approved accepting the grant and leasing the cameras.

Other business:

  • The board discussed potential increases to the town’s fee schedule, which was last updated in 2004, during its workshop session.
  • Polly Gallagher, executive director of the Grand County Library District, gave an update to the board.
  • The board approved final plats, development plans, subdivision improvement agreements and other items relating to multiple properties within Granby Ranch.
  • Trustees approved a letter showing support for Grand County Economic Development’s grant application for funds to conduct a feasibility study for a small manufacturing and outdoor recreation shared space to attract small manufacturing businesses.
  • Headwaters Trail Alliance asked the town for $4,000 to pay for contractor lodging while it reconstructs the portion of the Fraser to Granby trail that goes from the parking area on Ten Mile Drive to the gazebo at Granby Ranch, and the board approved the request.
  • The board voted to sign onto a letter from the National League of Cities to members of Congress that states the concern of communities with railroads running through them about rail safety in the wake of the East Palestine, Ohio, derailment.
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