License plate readers help catch Old Town shooting suspects

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – On Sunday August 14, an early morning shooting in the Old Town resulted in the death of one man and the arrest of two others. Officers were able to identify the two suspects after speaking to witnesses and viewing CCTV in the Old Town.

As the suspects fled in a vehicle, it was license plate readers from the Flock security camera system that helped locate them.

“This is the most transformational technology we’ve ever had in WPD history,” said Lt. Casey Slaughter of the Wichita Police Department (WPD).

Slaughter runs the license plate reader program for WPD.

“To say that we took bad guys and girls off the streets that needed to be taken away because of Flock is a fair assumption,” Slaughter said. “We caught a lot of very, very high profile suspects.”

Slaughter says it also takes a lot of good cop work and hustle to locate suspects in different crimes.

The Flock system does not receive video of speeders or people performing illegal U-turns.

“There’s no traffic enforcement aspect to it,” Slaughter said.

But it helps with other crimes.

Valley Center has been using license plate readers since 2021. And they solve many different crimes.

“It ranges from thefts of some air conditioners where we could see the vehicle going into town empty, and it came out of town loaded,” Valley Center Police Department Capt. Matt Vogt said. “In addition, we are working on missing persons, arrest warrants and a criminal domestic violence case.”

The license plate reader system cooperates with the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

“We’re looking at vehicle license plates, make, model and color, and it’s been so successful,” Slaughter said.

Slaughter says other departments are getting more and more interested in it.

“We had a department in Akron, Ohio call us today,” Slaughter said. “They want to know more about how we operate. And we have a very robust training system to do it right.

Slaughter says WPD uses 135 license plate readers across the city.

Milton S. Rodgers