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Flowery Branch approves license scanner purchase
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• Flowery Branch City Council expects consultant Pond & Co. to present its Old Town redevelopment plan during its Jan. 2 meeting.

Consultants will provide an overview of their recommendations for development and marketing of the area. The public is invited to attend to hear the latest on the plan, as well as gain council member insight on it. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 5517 Main St. in Old Town Flowery Branch.

• There will also be a first reading, and time for public comment, on the proposed annexation and subsequent rezoning of four properties in the vicinity of the intersection of Spout Springs and Hog Mountain roads.

“Those  four properties are highly developable,” said City Planner John McHenry, who also said the city would like to work with the Spout Springs road-widening project to ensure the best traffic flow for an expanding commercial presence.

Lisa Laskey

City Council unanimously approved Thursday night purchasing a license plate scanning system that will let Flowery Branch police determine if an auto’s owner has outstanding violations.

Mayor Mike Miller earlier encouraged Police Chief David Spillers to pursue adding a reader, saying he thinks license scanners are a “good idea.”

A tag-reading system allows officers to scan a license plate against information from a variety of linked databases without having to call the tag number in to headquarters. The data can also be shared between agencies.

“These systems connect to one another,” Spillers said, in addition to state and national databases.

Council approved up to $20,000 for an initial system.

The reader can scan for anything from proof of insurance to stolen vehicles, outstanding driver warrants, sex offenders and missing child alerts.

As the reader scans a vehicle’s license plate, the number is compared against the databases, alerting the officer if there is an issue.

“We will always individually investigate and verify” the information provided by the technology, Spillers said, before a citation would be issued.

The information gathered by the scanner is only retained when there has been a violation; the system does not maintain innocent motorists’ information, Spillers said.

According to Spillers, most area law enforcement agencies, including the Georgia State Patrol, Gwinnett and DeKalb counties and the cities of Atlanta, Gainesville and Braselton, among others, maintain scanners. Hall County is currently considering vendors also, Spillers said.

Spillers told council that scanning technology is a crime deterrent once word gets out on the street, and that this would be its priority for the city.

“We are a corridor,” he said, and a scanning system would help decrease crime in the Stonebridge Shopping Village, which has become a target for thieves who travel from other areas. “This will help to keep that element out,” he said.

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