Mission Hills installs license plate readers at 5 intersections with more to come — Here’s where

A camera at State Line Road and 63rd Street in Mission Hills. Photo credit Kyle Palmer.

The city of Mission Hills is making headway on installing cameras and license plate readers at select intersections throughout the city.

  • At least five are already installed at busy intersections in the city in northeast Johnson County.

What’s the latest: Capt. Ivan Washington, staff services division commander for the Prairie Village Police Department, which also oversees enforcement in Mission Hills, updated the Mission Hills City Council on the project at its meeting earlier this week.

Driving the news: Washington told the Post after the meeting that license-plate reading cameras have been installed and are in operation at the following intersections in Mission Hills:

  • 63rd Street and Mission Road
  • 63rd and State Line Road
  • Tomahawk Road and Mission
  • Tomahawk and State Line
  • 55th Street and State Line

What’s next: Installation of more cameras is expected to start later this week for license plate readers at:

  • 70th Terrace and Belinder Avenue,
  • Mission Drive and State Line,
  • 63rd and Indian Lane,
  • and at the Verona Columns.

Zooming out: Other cities throughout Johnson County use license plate readers as part of a collective database “so multiple jurisdictions can benefit from all of us collecting this data and these traffic patterns and movement to bring cases to a positive resolution,” Washington said.

  • License place readers and cameras are investigative tools police use in help solving a crime, Washington said, say if a suspect’s vehicle drives through an intersection or there is an accident and investigators need to sort out which driver may be at fault.
  • Washington said Prairie Village Police are not using the technology in Mission Hills to catch traffic violators, including drivers who run red lights.

Key quote: “It captures photographs of those traveling on the roadway at those designated areas,” Washington said. “We only go pull the data when needed. If an accident occurs … we can view it to see who ran the red light or who turned right against a red light, but the goal of the traffic cameras and the LPRs is strictly criminal investigation. There’s no … you run a red light and we send you a ticket.”

Digging deeper: Some intersections have license plate readers and cameras both, while other intersections have only one or the other.

  • Washington told the Post last November that license plate readers may also have a deterrent effect.
  • “Ideally, the word gets out that Mission Hills has invested in infrastructure and cameras and LPRs, and it is probably not safe or easy to come here and do illegal activities,” he said at the time.
  • The police department created a prioritized list with four importance levels for intersections inside the city and at its boundaries.

Price tag: The city council last year unanimously approved moving forward with installations at the first- and second-level priority intersections.

  • City Administrator Jennifer Lee in an email to the Post said the total coast for installing all planned license plate readers around the city is $250,000.
  • Included in that, she said, is $80,000 spent on the five license plate readers that have already been installed.

Jerry LaMartina is a freelance journalist who contributes frequently to the Shawnee Mission Post and other Kansas City-area publications. He can be reached at lamartina.jerry@gmail.com.