Skip to comments.Scanner nabs unregistered cars, crooks (CT)
Posted on 03/31/2010 10:28:28 AM PDT by Puppage
Branford, Conn. (WTNH) - When it comes to fighting crime police will use any tool they can get their hands on. In Branford , they've equipped one of their cars with cameras that act almost like a set of eyes in the back of officer's heads.
The electronic eyes are specifically designed to read and remember license plates. They are Branford's newest tools for proactive policing.
"Our database is updated every day with the Dept. of Motor Vehicle registration files, so this gives the officer an indication that a vehicle may not be registered properly," Lt. Geoff Morgan, Branford olice, said.
But that is only the beginning because police have noticed a trend. This kind of information doesn't just help cops find people who haven't been to the DMV. It helps them catch criminals.
"Many people that are involved in other types of criminal activity in our community are operating and manuevering in cars that are not properly registered, not properly insured, nor do they have proper licensing," Lt. Morgan said.
To show how the system works, Branford Police took News Channel 8 for a ride both on the streets and through the Walmart parking lot. The thing was beeping like crazy, picking up license plates literally left and right. Most of them come back clean -- no problems. But once and a while there's a hit.
Police can program the system to look for specific plates -- think Amber Alerts or vehicle descriptions from crime scenes. In fact, just last week they caught a suspected shoplifter after a store employees could offer only a partial license plate of the getaway car.
"Because the license plate reader had been through that parking lot moments before, we were able to search that database, come up with the actual registration and actually solve a crime," Lt. Morgan said.
Federal stimulus money essentially paid for these cameras, and at this point only one patrol car equipped with them, but they're working pretty well and Branford police haven't ruled out getting more down the road.
I am told these systems cost 20k each & this one was purchased with Federal Stimulus money.
I believe that California has been trying this idea for some time. I don’t have a problem with it if it us used strictly to locate criminals. That being said, it could be used for other things also..........hopefully not.
And, therein lies the problem.
“And actually solved a crime!”
Oh boy.. we’re in trouble.
I have no problem with this, until it’s abuse is evident. Because basically it just enhances the senses of the officer. It’s on a car, and not on a pole. It empowers LEO to do their jobs far better.
If it were just mounted on poles, then we have problems. Now at least they’ll stop pulling over my 1984 Brat for no other reason than “It looks suspicious”.
What kinda upsets me here is that CT required all motorists to turn in their old “White on Blue” plates in favor of the new pressings of the Light House plate. This plate is what enables all of these technologies to work. This is the same tech that city officers use to scan licence plates to see who has or hasn’t paid their taxes - then clamp cars appropriately.
Thank goodness they are able to crack down on unregistered cars driven by college kids waiting for a summer paycheck, or a parent who put it off for a few months to save up for a new baby crib.
It’s also good to know that there are no other crimes being committed in Connecticut that need law enforcement attention.
Proactive policing? No thanks.
We already have these things in NY and have for some time. I find it very intrusive. The good news is that they put out so much Ka radar that you can detect them like 5 blocks away with a decent radar detector.
It can be abused (such as by cruising parking lots only of businesses that don’t support the Sheriff’s reelection campaign, or neighborhoods where a particular disfavored demographic predominates).
The database of who went where, for later crime solving (keeping tabs on citizens’ movements) is improper. But I’m less concerned about marked patrol vehicles scanning plates, just like the cops scan for expired or missing registration stickers.
I do support measure to stop unregistered vehicles, and uninsured drivers. That would be especially helpful where illegal aliens predominate, but I’d support the efforts only if they actually used them for immigration enforcement when they found violations.
As long as the manufacturer of the system paid an appropriate and mutually-acceptable bribe to the Congresscritter who wrote the precise specifications into the appropriation bill such that only that mfr’s offering would comply, then I don’t see anything to object to.
Not at the state level. However I have no idea about small localities in far flung corners of the state.
Guess I picked the wrong day to wash the car...;)
Of course this sounds OK on the surface with the “Hey, go ahead and search me-I have nothing to hide” Set....
Suspected shoplifter doesn't sound like the trial has completed to conviction yet. "solve a crime" is more than just getting it off the books. Ask those who were wrongly accused of being the Olympic Park Bomber and the Anthrax Letter mailer.
Just sounds like more of a money-making scheme to me. If they would stop using it for that and use it for actual crimes, like they said Amber Alerts, then I’d be all for it.
How long before someone tries to subpoena these databases for a civil trial like a divorce?
Ah, the good old days when I drove the rusty old Chevy pickup with no plates for months and was never pulled over.
It’s very double plus ungood.
The Brat is like an old predecessor to the Baja.
Well whoever was pushing for this government contract got stimulated.
If LEOs put out a BOLO on someone seen in a specific vehicle then yes, it makes sense but the limits on it have to be clear.
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