Madison County State’s Attorney supports putting license plate reading cameras on the Clark Bridge

MADISON COUNTY, IL - The Madison County State’s Attorney believes license plate reading cameras on the Clark Bridge would give investigators an added tool for fighting crime.  Tom Gibbons said his office will be working the Alton and Godfrey communities along with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office to find a way to make the cameras a reality.

We’ve reported on the effort by Alton Police to convince area communities the license plate readers would be worth the investment.  Gibbons said some of the costs associated with the cameras could be offset by revenue generated through a drug asset forfeiture fund.  He believes the cameras would definitely help make Madison County safer.

He pointed to a Madison County kidnapping case last year involving two juveniles.  He said it was a license plate reading camera in another part of the country that helped lead to the safe return of the children.

“That was absolutely critical in our ability to be able to focus in on our investigative resources and recover those two children who had been kidnapped,” Gibbons said.

He said recent carjackings in Godfrey linked to suspects in Missouri prompted area authorities to step up efforts to bring cameras to the bridge.

Here’s how Gibbons said the license plate readers work.  He said officers enter wanted license plates into a data base.  An alert is sent to police when the cameras detect a match with that data base.

“These aren’t red light cameras.  These aren’t the things that are actually tracking people’s movements,” said Gibbons.

The State’s Attorney said there no specific plan on the table just yet but his office plans to work collaboratively with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and the communities of Alton and Godfrey to come up with a cost sharing plan all parties can support.

Gibbons predicts some of the camera cost could be offset by a drug asset forfeiture fund.  He predicts the cameras would lead to more drug related arrests and would make Madison County safer.

There are critics of the plan.  Some feel the cost would outweigh benefits or that criminals would find another path once they realized cameras were on the bridge.