One more Mount Airy police car will have an automatic license plate reader.
The Mount Airy Police Department is operating a pilot program using older license plate readers borrowed from Maryland State Police. But it has received a grant for a new automatic license plate reader, an update from the ones currently used.
The Mount Airy Town Council unanimously approved the purchase of the new reader, as the grant will reimburse the town. The grant provides around $12,775, Police Chief Douglas Reitz said at the Nov. 4 council meeting.
The town might have to pay installation fees out-of-pocket, but they are minimal, Reitz told the council.
The automatic license plate reader will go into a new police car, instead of replacing the borrowed equipment, he said.
“Basically, it’s a force multiplier,” Reitz told the council. “Officers find more stuff, more violations, and it’s also safety, officer safety improvement because it lets them know right away if something’s up when they stop a car by reading the tag and running it. And it provides instantaneous results if there’s something that they need to be aware of for officer safety purposes.”
The plate readers automatically read license plates as the police car drives by, he said in response to a question from Councilman Jason Poirier about how they operate.
For example, if the license plate reader scans a plate registered to someone with a warrant out for their arrest, it will alert the officer. It can also scan for suspended plates or revoked licenses. That helps the officer know what to expect when they approach the vehicle, Reitz said.
The Town Council also unanimously passed the sign ordinance, which details what signs can be put up in town, from flags to businesses signs. It was passed with little comment from the council.
Coming up in Mount AiryThe Town Council set a public hearing to discuss the Vosloh property, a parcel of town where developers would like to build a Wawa. For that to happen, the land would have to be rezoned.
The council will hold a public hearing on Dec. 18 to hear about the plan. Given the amount of participation from the public in Planning Commission meetings, the public hearing will be held separately from the regularly scheduled Town Council meeting.
The Planning Commission did not recommend rezoning the Vosloh property.
The commission will hold a workshop Thursday to discuss the town’s adequate public facilities ordinance, or APFO, which guides town development by setting requirements such as the amount of open space or school capacity.
The Mount Airy Ethics Commission will meet Wednesday to discuss possible changes to the town’s ethics code. These changes are mostly due to a memorandum for the state about municipal ethics code, said member Dick Swanson.
The ethics code revision had already been sent to the town attorney, so the commission will review edits, Swanson said.