by The Chicago Times Staff

August 20, 2021

CHICAGO — The Illinois State Police began installing license plate reading cameras throughout the Chicago area to assist law enforcement in slowing the tide of expressway shootings.

A $12.5 million grant was awarded to the Illinois State Police to purchase and install more than 200 high-definition surveillance cameras at 47 locations along Chicago-area expressways.  The funds are provided by the Tamara Clayton Expressway Camera Act.  Clayton, 55, was shot and killed as she drove to work on I-57 near Cicero on February 4, 2019.  Her assailant has never been found.

According to state police, there have been 157 reported shootings on Chicago area expressways since the beginning of 2021.  In Chicago, there were 128 expressway shootings in 2020, and 52 in 2019.

The specialized cameras can read license plate numbers even while a vehicle is moving through traffic on the expressway.  In addition, the installation will include systems and software that can search and match license plate photos to existing vehicle databases.

“They will be able to track offenders down, make an arrest that will lead to a conviction,” said Illinois State Police Colonel David Byrd.

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