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New cameras to help police watch key intersections around Turlock
intersection cameras
The City Council approved installing cameras at six key intersections around Turlock. This graphic shows where cameras will be placed at Golden State Boulevard and E. Main Street (Image contributed).

The City of Turlock is increasing its traffic surveillance, following action by the Turlock City Council last week, that will see 32 cameras installed at six intersections around town.

The Turlock City Council unanimously approved a contract with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and EPIC io to install cameras and join a countywide data collection program for license plate information. The cost to the City is $102,828 a year, with a $54,077 one-time installation and shipping cost.

“It’s a pretty good system. It’s tried and tested; it’s used in the cities of Hughson, Riverbank, Patterson, the city of Waterford and parts of Stanislaus County,” said Turlock Police Chief Jason Hedden.

For several years, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office has used Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) systems within several contract cities and in the unincorporated areas of Stanislaus County. The ALPR system consists of cameras mounted to police vehicles and street poles that automatically take photographs of vehicle license plates that are then translated into letters and numbers. The resulting data is compared to law enforcement databases to see if the vehicle has been reported stolen, used in a crime, or is displaying lost or stolen license plates. If the license number is found to be wanted, the system alerts the department so they can investigate further. Prior to any enforcement activity being initiated, officers are required to verify the alert with dispatch or directly via the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System. The ALPR data is only accessible by law enforcement personnel for official investigative purposes and all access is logged by an authorized user.

This network would be used to track vehicles related to criminal activity throughout Stanislaus County. The system would send an alert to dispatch and all deputies/officers notifying them of a wanted vehicle entering a specific jurisdiction. With the Council’s approval, Turlock will join this network, adding ALPRs within the City of Turlock. Joining this countywide effort, Turlock will have access to ALPR data countywide.

There will be a shared database and the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Fusion Center will have the ability to access live feed from of the camera systems throughout the county in the event of a critical incident or emergency.

The program also features high resolution and 365-degree view so that police could “zoom” in and get more information. The enhanced detail and streaming video allows police investigators to immediately identify the make, model and color of a vehicle involved in criminal activity, along with specific details such as dents, faded paint, window decals, etc.

The intersections where the cameras will be installed are:

·         Golden State Boulevard and East Main Street

·         Main Street and Lander Avenue

·         Monte Vista Avenue and Countryside Drive

·         West Main Street and Tully Road

·         E. Glenwood Avenue and Lander Avenue

·         Monte Vista Avenue and Geer Road

Along with real-time license plate recognition, the program also keeps track of how many cars, trucks, buses, etc. pass through an intersection each day and how many “near miss” accidents occur, information that can be shared with the City’s traffic engineering department.

This system is already used in nearby communities, including Hughson, Riverbank, Patterson, Waterford and other parts of Stanislaus County.