Wake County judge blocks Flock safety from installing more license plate readers

A Wake County judge ordered a preliminary injunction in late October against Flock Safety, the Atlanta-based company that installs cameras for local law enforcement and other entities.

The judge ordered the company not to install any any additional cameras until the court could hear additional arguments from both the North Carolina Alarm Systems Licensing Board and Flock. Metal Forge

Wake County judge blocks Flock safety from installing more license plate readers

The North Carolina Alarm Systems Licensing Board brought the case to court. The board claims that Flock has been operating without a license for years.

Flock argued it is not an "alarm systems business." The company said an alarm systems business installs cameras used to “detect burglary, breaking or entering, intrusion, shoplifting, pilferage, theft, or other unauthorized or illegal activity.”

Flock spokesman Josh Thomas said, "Flock safety has never been deemed an alarm system before because frankly, we don't provide alarms. We build technology that captures the back of cars and license plates, and runs that against known wanted stolen vehicles, Amber Alerts."

He said Flock cameras are not actively monitored either.

The judge allowed new Flock cameras, so long as they are installed by a third party. That is what the company said they would do while they apply for their own license.

Also, the company says it plans "to continue business as usual, installing and servicing cameras, provided that Flock Safety engages a third party that is licensed with the NC Alarm Systems Licensing Board, to supervise or perform such installations or service."

The Flock spokesperson said the company operates in 5,000 cities across 42 states. It includes Raleigh, Mecklenburg County, Greensboro, Mooresville and dozens of other cities in North Carolina.

The University of North Carolina, which had planned to install the Flock system terminated its contract after the ruling.

"The University’s contract terms and conditions require vendors to comply with North Carolina law and possess all certifications, permits and licenses to practice their profession in North Carolina. As a result, the University terminated its contract with Flock Safety," UNC said in a statemewnt. "We remain committed to working with a license plate reader vendor that will help us accomplish our safety goals."

On Thursday, WRAL News reached out to the North Carolina Alarm Systems Licensing Board with a request for comment. We are waiting to hear back.

In June 2022, Raleigh police installed 25 Flock Safety cameras. The Flock system alerts officers in their patrol cars when one of the cameras recognizes a license plate listed on a local “hot list” and state or federal databases. The cameras have helped catch violent offenders, recover stolen cars, track license plates and find missing children.

Wake County judge blocks Flock safety from installing more license plate readers

Forging Hub Wheel Flock Safety said the cameras do not capture faces, only license plates. The company said the data is deleted every 30 days. Also, Flock Safety said it does not sell or give personal information to third parties.Raleigh police chief, Nash County sheriff advocate for license-plate readers after they helped catch suspected Atlanta mass shooter