Former Mayor: Private resident paid for cact-eye cameras

Paradise Valley is hiding camera's in cactuses.

On Monday morning, it was the top trending topic on Facebook, and now the former Mayor of Paradise Valley who oversaw the license plate reader program is speaking out.

Welcome to Paradise Valley, the upscale community where the cactus sees you, and they are on the lookout for criminals and troublemakers.

The cactus, as well as all major roads in and out of town, are equipped with license plate readers.

"An officer drives through a church parking lot, a resort, drives down your street, and stolen license plate and cars of interest will automatically pop up on their screen in the patrol car," said Mayor Scott LeMarr.

LeMarr said the town is not sneaking the technology in, it's been in the works for a long time.

"We do this thing to enhance the security in our community, and we can afford it," he said.

They can afford this expensive technology thanks to a wealthy resident who donated the money.

"A benevolent citizen who wanted to support the police department and keep the crime rates at a historic low. The gift allowed us to bring cameras in and in essence we have an electronic fence that allows us to see who comes in and out of our community, on every major roadway into Paradise Valley," said LeMarr.

Mayor LeMarr said the system is a tool to stop crime before it happens.

"If you have a stolen plate, be on the lookout, we have scanners on the side of every cop car you go by, this stuff is going on all over," he said.

"Anyplace in the world today you're on an LPR or surveillance camera, the right to visual privacy has long since disappeared today," said LeMarr.

So is the message that big brother is alive and well in Paradise Valley?

"The message is Paradise Valley Police is out there, and we're watching, and we can see you. We'd like to think it's a deterrent, I'm going to perp my crime somewhere else, it's too easy to be seen in Paradise Valley," he said.

LeMarr said the plan was to store the information gathered for six months.
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