The White Settlement Police Department arrested a man suspected of opening fire Thursday on a group of teenagers, and officials are crediting new technology with helping identify the suspect.
License plate readers helped the department arrest 32-year-old Burgos Rodriguez for allegedly firing a gun at a group of six teenagers nearby the 8100 block of Foxfire Lane on November 9, as reported by NBC 5 DFW.
No one was injured during the incident, and witnesses said the man responsible fled the scene in a blue Chevrolet truck.
Later that day, license plate readers identified the license plate of the suspect’s truck and sent an alert to law enforcement, leading to Rodriguez’s arrest.
White Settlement Chief of Police Christopher Cook said the arrest was one of the most successful instances of the license plate readers, adding that the system has “seen successes before, certainly from recovering stolen cars, fugitives, warrants,” per NBC 5.
“But in reality, this is only about the third case to my knowledge over the last year and a half that’s helped us solve a gun crime.”
Rodriguez has been charged with six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for his alleged involvement in the incident.
White Settlement Police Department (WSPD) installed 10 license plate readers from Flock Safety in 2022, per NBC 5.
Since the first set of installations, WSPD has joined with Fort Worth and Lockheed Martin to monitor a total of 65 readers that have been installed.
Cook said the system has become “a force multiplier” for the department since it can help narrow down the areas in which officers must monitor.
“It’s extra eyes and ears if you will, on the streets,” he told NBC 5.
Cook said some residents in the area were skeptical about the readers due to concerns that their privacy would be violated. “In reality, that’s not the case.”
“First of all, Flock has a great platform in the fact that after 30 days, that data is purged. That doesn’t stay on a server forever,” he said, per NBC 5.
“Flock has been instrumental, and I think the way that you dispel some of those myths is you just have to talk about what the technology is and isn’t.”
Closer to home in Dallas, crime has continued to remain high in the city since the start of 2023.
There have been 22,948 reported instances of assault offenses between the start of the year and Wednesday, according to the Dallas crime analytics overview dashboard.
Dallas is also facing a shortage of police officers, as there are currently around 3,200 officers sworn in, despite a City report stating that 4,000 officers would be needed to help adequately manage crime in a city the size of Dallas.
The strain on Dallas Police Department resources can be felt most heavily in Downtown Dallas, which sees significantly higher crime rates than neighboring Fort Worth’s downtown area. The latter reportedly maintains public safety in the city center via a dedicated police unit and private security guards.