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Mich. officers commended for arresting alleged predators using latest technology

The extensive operation, which dismantled a human trafficking ring, was bolstered by the use of Flock Safety cameras


Photo/Taylor Police Department Facebook

By Jackie Martin
The News Herald, Southgate, Mich.

SOUTHGATE, Mich. — A team of law enforcement officers from various agencies were recognized recently for their initiative to work with a task force designed to take suspected child predators and sex traffickers off the streets.

Headed by Homeland Security Investigations, the team assembled its headquarters at the Taylor Police Department and worked for four days during the time of the NFL Draft.

It started April 24 and continued through the draft.

Taylor police was chosen by HSI because of its technological capabilities, ample space to accommodate a command center and officers willing to take on the covert operation.

State Rep. Jamie Thompson (R-Brownstown) gathered participating officers from Taylor and other agencies for a formal recognition commending them on their efforts that resulted in the apprehension of three suspected child predators. One other person is still under investigation.

“It is my pleasure and honor to recognize the Taylor Police Department, the Downriver SWAT and all of the teams of law enforcement that heroically took down multiple child predators and a human trafficking ring right here in the city of Taylor and surrounding Downriver communities,” Thompson said. “Their dedication to protecting and serving continuously surpasses their call to duty.”

She thanked the officers for their service, their families and said, “Praise God for keeping them safe every day and may He continue to protect and bless them.”

Numerous officers were on hand for the recognition, which was held during a recent meeting of the City Council.

This large-scale operation was enhanced by the implementation of the department’s Flock security cameras.

According to Lt. Frank Canning, this operation in particular was a perfect opportunity to utilize the new Flock security camera put in place throughout the city.

On this joint law enforcement task force occasion, the cameras were used to help track suspects through the description of the vehicle.

If the car passed by a Flock camera, the license plate could be read and tracked using various cameras and the location information fed to the command center.

Cameras do not capture images of the individuals inside the vehicle, it is strictly records license plates.

“There are 50 cameras throughout the city, and an additional 30 are inside police vehicles,” Taylor Police Chief John Blair said. “It’s allowing us to do more with less (fewer people). We are utilizing it as best we can. Lt. Jeff Adamisin oversees this project and our technological programs.”

Canning said Flock cameras are paying off already.

Recently, he said there was a drive-by shooting at an occupied house in the area of Eureka and Westlake.

In that incident, Canning said a neighbor’s Ring security camera captured a shot of a fleeing Jeep Compass.

“Using the Flock system, we were able to locate the car within one minute of the time shots were fired,” Canning said.

Police believe the license plate readers can help track vehicle’s location when there is no one in pursuit of a suspect.

Although quite successful, there are no plans to set up another sting operation, but Canning and Blair believe a good working relationship has been established and their own work to catch criminals is still being done.

Just about every Downriver community has put the license plate readers in place and they are being used as a sophisticated crime-fighting tool.

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