Watch CBS News

Richmond Readies Drones, License Plate Readers To Quell Sideshow Activity

RICHMOND (KPIX 5) -- A Bay Area city is ready to roll out some new tools to put the brakes on sideshows. Richmond police say they plan to deploy their license plate reader cameras and drones to monitor any sideshow activity such as what happened this past weekend.

We learned that a sideshow that broken up in Oakland – with participants chased out of both Oakland and Berkeley - ended up in Richmond this past weekend.

That's where the driver of one car hit a Richmond police officer as the cars fled again.

Richmond police had no advance intelligence, so they didn't use their license plate readers or drones for this sideshow.

This weekend, they're ready.

"It'll capture all license plates that are there so we can identify who's all involved, even if you are there just as an audience, it's going to capture your license plate," said Richmond Police Lt. Felix Tan.

Tan said if a sideshow returns, the department will send police cars that have license plate readers mounted on top.

Those cameras will record all the plates so they can track down the drivers afterward. They can also use their two drones to record footage of the cars and drivers.

"It's got a flare system on it which can acutally see at night and seek out heat signature at night," said Tan.

Richmond police say they don't typically experience a lot of sideshows in their city. But following last weekend's incident, they've been monitoring social media all week for any kind of illegal event.

"They haven't got caught yet. So they think it's fun, this cat and mouse game, which it is," said resident Samantha Lyng. "But when you get caught, and you get that fine or your car gets towed, I think it'll slow them down a little bit. Just a little bit."

Many people who live in this area are glad Richmond police is using technology to track these sideshows, saying it's way too dangerous, for the officers and the participants.

"I think it's a good idea," said Hercules resident Gwenn McIntyre. "I think the police should use all of the technology that they have in their toolbox."

Police arrested the driver and passenger, both 18, who hit the Richmond officer. They're both facing a number of charges.

The officer is back home recovering, but still faces a long recovery process.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.