PLANO (CBS11) – We know cameras are all around us, but now the company that collects garbage for many North Texas cities is using a camera system on its trucks to improve service. It will also be a resource available to police.
The City of Plano has been using a similar system for years that is already helping investigators.
Plano has a whole fleet of these trucks equipped with cameras that police are learning can be mobile surveillance systems, covering places some may have thought no one was watching.
Collecting trash is what we expect garbage trucks to do, but the cameras on board have turned Plano’s garbage fleet into a force multiplier for police, potentially giving investigators eyes in every direction the trucks turn.
“With these trucks driving around and having a full perspective, it’s a great tool for us,” Plano Police Officer David Tilley said.
Cameras in back, on the side and in front record the area outside the truck. There’s also an additional system recording the driver.
Waste Connections, the private contractor that serves multiple cities including McKinney, Frisco and Prosper, tells CBS11 in the last few months they’ve deployed a similar system. They expect it to help collections and they plan to make the footage available if investigators believe it will be useful in criminal cases. Tilley says those cities will now have a new tool his detectives found helpful in a recent crash investigation.
“It just so happens that the sanitation truck was directly behind one of the involved parties,” Tilley said.
But the thought of having surveillance cameras constantly on the move right up to your back door gives some homeowners like Alex Salazar mixed feelings.
“One reservation, especially the garbage trucks, they do roam between the alleys and sometimes people have their homes open,” Salazar said.
But he also says the potential the cameras have to help safeguard his neighborhood outweighs his concerns about privacy.
“I have nothing to hide, so I’m good with it,” Salazar said.
When CBS11 checked in with some of the other cities, officers were just learning about the availability of the footage from garbage trucks.
Plano Police say it’s still a relatively new tool investigators will learn how to use alongside traditional surveillance resources.
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