Hammond Mayor, Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. announces that on Friday April 7, 2017 the Hammond Police launched their new patrol vehicles equipped with LPR (license plate reader) cameras. This is a prelude to the 33 cameras that will cover every major entry and exit point in Hammond. These cameras will augment the six crime fighting cameras already in place. This is the next generation crime fighting and crime prevention tool. “I believe the new cameras will aid police in reducing crime significantly in Hammond,” stated Mayor McDermott.
Within the first hour on the road, the automated system notified officers that the registered owner of a vehicle near them had a suspended driver license. A second manual check was completed by the officer and confirmed the information. The owners physical characteristics obtained from his driver’s license matched those of the person currently driving the vehicle in question. The vehicle was stopped in the 6500 block of Indianapolis Blvd.
As the officer spoke to the driver, he detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. A clear zip-lock type bag containing a green leafy substance was observed near the driver. The driver was asked to step out of the car and placed under arrest. A physical search of the suspect revealed a loaded pistol in his waistband with an extended magazine and laser sighting device. The pistol with extended magazine held 22 rounds of ammunition.
“I’m very impressed with our police officers and the LPR cameras,” stated Mayor McDermott. “One hour into the new program and it’s already working. I want people to think twice before committing a crime in Hammond.”
Several years ago, the Hammond Police implemented a contact protocol system increasing the number of contacts officers had with observed violators on our streets. This is just one tool used to take offenders off the street before they commit their next crime. The LPR system will enhance our officers’ ability to detect persons wanted for a crime already committed, or stop them on the way to their next one.
“We feel this first stop is an example of how contact with subjects driving illegally can lead to the discovery of otherwise undetected crime,” stated Police Chief John Doughty. “The LPR system will go well beyond a registration offense. Stolen cars, registered owners with warrants, vehicles tagged in AMBER alerts and used in crimes, will be flagged by the LPR system.”