Installation of license plate reading cameras begins on Chicago-area expressways

Illinois State Police began installing license plate reading cameras around the Chicago area this week to help law enforcement slow the tide of expressway shootings.

State police received a $12.5 million grant to purchase and install more than 200 high-definition surveillance cameras at 47 locations along Chicago-area expressways.

The money comes from the Tamara Clayton Expressway Camera Act. Clayton, 55, was shot and killed on I-57 at Cicero as she drove to work on Feb. 4, 2019. Her killer has never been identified.


Since the start of 2021, there have been 157 reported shootings on Chicago area expressways, according to state police. In 2020, there were 128 expressway shootings in Chicago and in 2019, there were 52.

The specialized cameras can read license plate numbers even while a car in moving in traffic on the expressway. The installation will also include systems and software than can search and match license plate photos to existing vehicle databases.

"They will be able to track offenders down, make an arrest that will lead to a conviction," said Illinois State Police Colonel David Byrd.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the addition of the cameras will help the Illinois State Police hold violent offenders accountable.

"Our roadways should be connections between communities, not crime scenes, and the ISP will offer the additional support necessary to local law enforcement in Chicago to protect traveling residents," Pritzker said.

Illinois State Police say the cameras will not be used for petty offenses, such as speeding.