Illinois State Police demonstrate how license plate-reading cameras will work on Chicago expressways

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois State Police gave a demonstration Thursday on how license plate-reading cameras will work to catch suspects on Chicago area expressways.

Illinois State Police, along with city and state transportation agencies, are installing the high definition cameras on Chicago-area expressways.

Phase One is focusing on the Dan Ryan Expressway, with some of the cameras already in use.

The project comes at a time when shootings on expressways have outpaced all of 2020 in the first eight-and-a-half months of 2021.

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State police said the cameras will be an increasingly important tool for them to be able to collect the evidence they need.

"We would like them to be extremely worried that they're gonna get caught cause we would like to deter the shootings on the expressway entirely. the images are ..they're high definition, they're crystal clear and there's about a little over a 99 percent success rate in scans in what we've already installed," said Major Matthew Gainer with the ISP Division of Criminal Investigations - Northern Region.

More than two years ago, Tamara Clayton was shot and killed on I-57 on her way to work.

The expressway cameras installed at the time were low definition and could not record.

Ever since her death, her family has been working to change that.

Last year, Governor JB Pritzker signed the Tamara Clayton Expressway Act.

The grant gave $12 million to install new cameras which will also include a system to send information to a central location where it can be checked against license plate and vehicle databases.

Clayton's sister Alma Hill hopes the new technology will help save other innocent lives.

"I want more urgency," Hill said. "I appreciate the cameras are here but how are you going to use them going forward?"

Troopers said the captured images will not be used for lesser offenses such as speeding, but they can be used to help with amber alerts and aid police in tracking down criminals.
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