By Nate Gnau
Police Departments in St. Louis County are buying into a new technology to help make the streets safer. Several police departments have started using license plate scanners that are attached to police cruisers. The system rifles through records in seconds, matching license plates with any outstanding warrants. If the driver has a warrant, the system alerts the patrolman, who will then pull over the suspect vehicle. The system has the capability to read plates from any angle, and up to 50 yards away.
Police in Town & Country were the first local municipality to use the technology three years ago and now other departments in the County are following suit, seeing how the technology has led to an increase in outstanding warrant arrests.
Arizona State Patrol Officer David Callister said “Three years ago, all I had in my car was a radio to talk to a dispatcher, and I had to wait my turn, If I was lucky, I could run 10 vehicles a day,” he said. “Now, with the plate reader and my computer, I’ve had days when I’ve read over 8,000.”
The technology was originally developed to identify stolen vehicles, but it was begging to be more widely utilized, as the State of Arizona’s law enforcement officials soon found. In Arizona, the system has identified Amber Alert suspects, violent criminals, uninsured motorists, individuals with warrant records, and other offenders.