Unique partnership between police and Georgia Power helps in crime fighting

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Georgia Power is not usually a company one thinks of when it comes to fighting crime, but it has formed a unique partnership with the Brookhaven Police Department. Major Brandon Gurley said the police department has 44 License Plate Readers mounted on Georgia Power utility poles throughout the city.

"Strategically located in areas we choose based on investigative needs," said Maj. Gurley.

The readers send an alert to officer's laptops and if any bad guys are in Brookhaven, police know it.

The cameras are expensive, but Brookhaven has teamed up with Georgia Power and the company's new SiteView program.

"We provide the cameras, camera systems, install them on poles. We'll own it, maintain it, but we don't get the data," said John Kraft with Georgia Power.

Brookhaven leases the cameras for $20,000 a month and get all the data. Police said about 3.5 million tags are read a month and officers get about 95,000 alerts.

"The majority of those are suspended tags, suspended licenses, but we're not concerned about that, we're only looking for serious crimes, carjackings, that type of thing," said Brookhaven Police Chief Gary Yandura.

Police said they've already seen the number of arrests go up.

"We have located entering auto suspects in the act of breaking into cars because we got the alert of a stolen vehicle coming in," said Maj. Gurley.

Police said they've gotten some push back from people thinking there are too many cameras watching their every move. But others said if it keeps the city safer, they're all for it.

"I think over time when they see the results we've had with arrests going up and crime going down I hope they see the positive impact it has," said Major Gurley.

"If you're trying to make the community safer that's good for everyone who lives here," said Steele Alphin who lives in Brookhaven.

Brookhaven is the first to partner with Georgia Power, but the utility company is in talks with several others.