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License Plate Readers To Be Added In Area

Wolf Point City Council member Lance FourStar, Valley County Sheriff Tom Boyer and the Drug Enforcement Agency have urged the Fort Peck Tribes to accept the addition of automated license plate readers to the reservation.

FourStar said the resolution was passed by the Fort Peck Tribes law and justice committee by a 6-0 vote last week. The tribal executive board approved the recommendation on a strong vote Monday, Dec. 11.

“It’s a program so needed here and it’s at no cost to the tribes,” FourStar said.

The plan is to use the ALPRs to monitor the ingress and egress of motor vehicles on the Fort Peck Reservation in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

FourStar said the hope is to reduce criminal activity including Missing, Murdered, Indigenous People and illegal drug activity especially fentanyl and meth distribution.

A total of 16 ALPRs will be provided with six to be used on the Fort Peck Reservation and six on the Fort Belknap Reservation. Plans are for the devices to be located on U.S. Highway 2 in Frazer and Brockton and on Montana Highway 13 near the bridge park south of Wolf Point.

“I’m very confident that this will be huge,” FourStar said of decreasing criminal activity.

ALPRs are a device primarily used for determining the mileage or route traveled by a motor vehicle, the location or identity of a motor vehicle on the public highways, utilizing a camera or other imaging device. The ALPR data is entered into a law enforcement database, which requires law enforcement officials to be vetted to utilize and access all ALPR data that is restricted to authorized personnel in furtherance of a criminal justice purpose.

The cameras are about the size of a football on a pole. FourStar said the devices have been used successfully on the Crow Reservation.

“I believe they have been able to take down two big loads of fentanyl,” FourStar said.

If a license is read that is in the DEA’s database, the information will be sent to local law enforcement. It could involve be a suspect for human trafficking or a missing person.

Regional success stories provided included Border agents encounter missing Montana teen at Texas checkpoint, Bozeman sexual assault suspect arrested in Michigan, LPR Assisted in Recovering Missing Juvenile and LPR assisted in tracking target movement from Florida to Arizona and Upward.

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