Saturday, February 23, 2013

Emerson Police Department awaits arrival of automatic license plate reader -

Emerson Police Department awaits arrival of automatic license plate reader -

Emerson Police Department awaits arrival of automatic license plate reader

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 22, 2013, 4:18 PM

The Emerson Police Department is waiting on the delivery of an automatic license plate reader, a device that can instantaneously read six plates in a matter of seconds.

According to Police Chief Donald Rossi, the reader, funded by the Department of Homeland Security, will cost between $15,000 and $20,000.

"Anything that can read 1,000 license plates in an hour is phenomenal," said Rossi, who has communicated with officers using the device in departments throughout Bergen County, including Westwood and Oradell.

There have been up to four arrests documented in one hour, noted Rossi. "You sit on the side of the road and flag every vehicle."

Rossi further explained that in a standard vehicle stop, the patrol officer manually inputs the license plate number in their vehicle's computer terminal. They then call dispatch to notify them of the location of the license plate check and the make and model of the car.

Usually this process requires a vehicle stop, but through the plate reader's camera attached to the police car the process would be automatic. The reader, which is constantly scanning all of the plates in its view, is capable of picking up plates on a car traveling up to 35 mph, which would be difficult for an officer to manually input.

With the new system, patrol officers can keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel, noted the chief.

Supplied by GTMB, a company that designs and develops software products for law enforcement agencies throughout New Jersey, the plate reader notifies the officer of any red flags.

The reader can also detect suspended licenses and outstanding violations and warrants, noted the chief, calling the reader "an up and coming tool."

The software provided by GTMB is called Info-Cop and it has access to hundreds of public safety departments throughout the country. It also provides immediate access over wireless networks to local, state, and federal crime databases.

The license plate information the reader collects is compiled in databases that can only be accessed by law enforcement officers.

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