ALPR - Automatic License Plate Reader, other LEO Tech

rwo978

Member
May 21, 2010
5,196
ND, USA
http://www.wday.com/event/videos/vidid/18655/


New tool we got at work. I usually drive this vehicle at night. The 'read' that is talked about in the story was one 'captured' as I was drivng thru a neighborhood one night. Guy claimed he wasn't even in town that night. ALPR and his vehicle said otherwise.


As to the ACLU, is there anything they do like? Not like you can tail someone with this system. Also, license plates are a 'plain view' exception to the S&A/4th amendment, so there's no right to privacy in regards to them.


**EDIT - Fixed vid, apparently Valley News Live recycles their web addresses. In that vid, the ACLU was mentioned. I'll try and find it again. Re-linked another vid.
 

mfaith91

Member
May 23, 2010
166
Kentucky
ACLU is going down the wrong path with this one...


It's not "tracking" everyone... it remembers every vehicle that it passes.... an "enhancement" to the memory of the officer in the seat of the squad.


If you asked me if I saw a purple mustang today on the bypass today at 3:00... I'd say yup- I saw it. Same thing the computer is doing... just taking notes.


I wish every agency could afford one, but the downside is it's another "tool" that is also used to put more work on an individual officer- because once it's the mindset that the officer can do it with his eyes closed, he is now assigned addtl duties.


Mike
 

rwo978

Member
May 21, 2010
5,196
ND, USA
We get BOLOs all the time, to the point, I rarely read the fresh stolens anymore... I can't remember all of them, plus all the extra patrol, look out for this dude.... This just makes it that much easier.


It's a very user friendly system. I turn it on, log in, and keep it minimized on the desktop. If there's a hit, it pops up, and is very evident (hit box is white, CAD screen is black). Other than that, I occassionally use it for reviews of plates that go by that I miss to run the plates for expired, warrants, ROs... catching plates going the opposite direction at 40mph at night is an art I'm not bad at, but no where near an expert ;) . But, even then, it doesn't catch every plate.
 

wkr518

Member
May 22, 2010
955
42.791127, -73.679758
anyone dong e-citations? A local PD here is looking into it to cut down on bad paperwork by steet officers.


I see LPR/ALPR/Plate Readers every place I go these days,even into rinky dink 2 car agencies.
 

rwo978

Member
May 21, 2010
5,196
ND, USA
Big article they did this weekend in the paper.


http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id ... sher_id/1/


Our ALPR and Print machine. We also have the scanners for plates and printers (under Williams' elbow, not pictured.)

Published August 02 2010
Cop tech: Police gear goes from ink to in synch


By: Dave Roepke, INFORUM


When Mike Reitan began his career as a cop in 1983, the tools of the trade were mostly ink-based: reports clacked out on office typewriters, a pen for note-taking and smudgy fingerprints rolled out on pads.


The technology police did have was straightforward.


“The radio I used had four buttons on it,” said Reitan, now the assistant police chief in West Fargo.


Policing revolves around the digital these days, with officers able to collect more data, access more records and share more information than ever – often from behind the wheel of a patrol vehicle.


“It really is one thing after another,” said Moorhead Lt. Tory Jacobson. “The squad cars are turning into little offices.”


West Fargo showed off an upgrade in gadgetry last week: a squad car-mounted system used since late June to capture and run a check on the license plates of every vehicle it passes.


“It’s simply amazing,” Reitan said.


Plate scanners aren’t the only technology used by area law enforcement that seem ripped from the pages of a spy-movie screenplay. From a soon-to-debut GPS system that links all metro officers in real time to anti-graffiti sensors that detect spray paint, the technology area police use is growing.


Plate scanner


The main purpose of the automatic plate scanner is nabbing a stolen vehicle or a wanted person, as photos taken of license plates are run against a national list compiled by the FBI and updated twice a day.


Reitan said the database can be updated locally to help find missing persons and aid local investigations or other situations. No matter how fast the vehicles are going, the system works, he said. The range is 100 feet tops, though bad weather can reduce the range.


No stolen cars or wanted suspects have been located yet, but Reitan said its use in a burglary case shows it has broad applications. Police are able to access all plates recorded, which helped to disprove a suspect’s claim that his car hadn’t left his garage all day, Reitan said.


Reitan said only serious local cases, felonies only, will call for using the plate reader to seek local suspects, though jurisdictions in big cities have employed them for offenses as minor as unpaid parking tickets.


“You could scan the entire Walmart parking lot in a couple of minutes by just driving up and down the lanes,” said Officer Pete Nielsen.


A visual confirmation is needed before initiating a traffic stop, as the scanner can generate false positives because it determines the numbers and letters of a plate but not the state.


Officer Tyler Williams said the scanner had a hit like that last week when a Minnesota plate came up as stolen because the same plate number was reported stolen in Wisconsin.


Reitan said West Fargo police will consider buying a second scanner next year if it proves useful. It’s the first one in use in North Dakota, but other area departments have also looked at the plate readers.


“We’ve certainly studied them, and I’m impressed,” Jacobson said.


Gadgets galore


Plate scanners aren’t the only new gizmos area cops have at their disposal.


Fargo police are using a sensor called the Merlin Graffiti Detection System that helps track and apprehend vandals, Lt. Pat Claus said.


According to information from the manufacturer, the Merlin system detects the audio signatures of spray paints and can be wired to an alarm or a camera.


“Yes, the Fargo police department does have technology like that and has since the beginning of summer,” Claus said.


Claus wouldn’t say where the sensors are located or how they’ve functioned.


“A lot of value is in not advertising the technology,” he said.


Audio and video recorders are essential tools in investigations – drug cases, for instance – and Claus said those recorders are getting smaller while improving in quality. Some transmitters are as small as a thumb, he said. That’s also allowed bicycle police in Moorhead to use in-ear radios, Jacobson said.


The shrinking trend also applies to bulkier technology. New versions of the thermal imagers used for several years – devices that help police see in the dark by measuring heat signatures – have shrunk from camcorder-sized to the size of binoculars, said Claus, who heads Fargo’s investigations unit and is also commander of the Fargo-Moorhead SWAT team.


New devices have often taken the place of low-tech alternatives.


As stun guns became a required addition to cops’ belts, batons are no longer mandated, and ink pads are no longer as essential due to the advent of the electronic fingerprint scanners in use in West Fargo and at the jails in Cass and Clay counties, Reitan said.


Better software


A standard patrol car is chock-full of technology: a laptop computer, video and audio recorders and even a printer – Moorhead’s cars are being outfitted with a printer stored inside of the passenger-seat headrest.


Though it may not sound as gee-whiz as new gadgets, one of the most important innovations for area law enforcement will debut Aug. 29, making the laptop computers in those cars even more functional.


All the agencies using the Red River Regional Dispatch Center are switching to a record management system called New World, which will replace a text-based “green screen” program with a system based in Windows that will give each department full access to each other’s records.


“It’s going to connect the dots that we might have had to seek out before,” Jacobson said.


As part of the New World system, every officer in the area will be able to see where all on-duty officers are, said Capt. Tod Dahle, who worked on the conversion planned since 2006.


That should be a big help in pursuits or in cases where police are offering mutual aid outside of their own cities, Jacobson said.


Dahle said while he can understand why some cops may think there’s “an air of Big Brother” with the constant tracking, he does not think it’ll be an issue.


“If they’re doing the job they’re paid to do, they’re never going to have to worry about that,” he said.


At what price?


A big drawback to better technology is the cost. The plate reader, for example, cost $28,000, Reitan said. It was paid for with a $10,000 state grant and $18,000 raised through seizures in drug cases, he said.


The New World project has a $3.8 million price tag, but a federal community policing grant covered $3 million, Dahle said.


Not being first in line for heralded advancements is one way to keep technology from busting the budget, Jacobson said.


“You want to be on the leading edge but not the bleeding edge,” he said.


Police also like to try new software and gear before buying, and companies are willing to give a trial run.


For example, Fargo police are testing a software program to improve their crime tracking, allowing the data to be sliced in far greater detail and increasing their mapping abilities, Claus said. But they haven’t signed a contract yet.


“They’re still letting us play with it,” he said.


Reitan said he looked at plate readers for years before deciding they were worth it. Now he’s doing the same with yet another scanner, this one a handheld device that could ID a person via face-recognition software and DNA.


“That’s still a ways down the road,” he said.

[Broken External Image]:http://www.inforum.com/media/full/jpg/2010/08/01/0802-coptech-printer.jpg


Sgt. Deric Swenson of the Moorhead Police Department shows the printer installed in the passenger-side headrest in his cruiser for the new ticketing system. Carrie Snyder / The Forum


[Broken External Image]:http://www.inforum.com/media/full/jpg/2010/08/01/0802-cop-license.jpg


Cameras are mounted on all four corners of the lights on top of a West Fargo cruiser. The cameras scan and check every license plate they encounter. Carrie Snyder / The Forum


[Broken External Image]:http://www.inforum.com/media/full/jpg/2010/08/01/0802-cop-williams.jpg


West Fargo police officer Tyler Williams shows how the computer inside his cruiser reads the scanned license plates to show if they are flagged or not. Carrie Snyder / The


[Broken External Image]:http://www.inforum.com/media/full/jpg/2010/08/01/0802-cop-scanners.jpg


Scanners are now used in Moorhead police cruisers for scanning driver’s license bar codes for the new ticketing system. Carrie Snyder / The Forum


[Broken External Image]:http://www.inforum.com/media/full/jpg/2010/08/01/0802-cop-fingerprint.jpg


Police clerk Dora Roll shows the electronic fingerprint scanner the department uses in West Fargo.
 

rwo978

Member
May 21, 2010
5,196
ND, USA
wkr518 said:
anyone dong e-citations? A local PD here is looking into it to cut down on bad paperwork by steet officers.
I see LPR/ALPR/Plate Readers every place I go these days,even into rinky dink 2 car agencies.

We're kindof doing e-cites, hence the scanners and printers. With the old software, I could get a ticket done in under 4 minutes, as long as the addresses on the DL and registration card are correct. I only have to enter about 10 boxes if everything scans correct, otherwise it's 30-40 boxes I have to tab thru.


With the new software update, haven't done a cite since. Layout is completely different, and a royal PITA from what I've heard. Guess I'll have to break down sometime soon and give it a try. With the old software, which mostly worked great except for some upload problems, I didn't physically write a ticket in about 6 months. It's nice, when it works right.
 

Alovebaby41

Member
May 23, 2010
354
Texas
Out traffic cars have these mounted on them, and they also are trying out the new e-ticket. But for the rest of us we still have to hand write them all still. But the technology is pretty cool, it has found a couple of stolen cars and such.
 

philyumpshus

Member
Jun 20, 2010
1,284
Malone, NY
The locals and SP around here have ALPRs on their cruisers but they are a lot bigger than the ones pictured. We still have some older SP cars with Vistas on them and the cameras are about as tall as the lightbar. :shock:
 

FireEMSPolice

Member
May 21, 2010
3,429
Ohio
I like the cameras under the lightbar. Beats the huge gawdy ones mounted on the trunk lid.


There was a guy on AM 610-WTVN here in Columbus about 2 weeks ago going on and on and on about how this was a warrantless search, invasion of privacy, etc. He dedicated his whole show to it since one of the local departments got a grant for them.
 

Amanda

Member
May 24, 2010
193
NY, USA
From my understanding about ALPR, at least in my town, was that the PD can run the program/system, but whatever shows up on the computer (wanted suspect, stolen vehicle) is still not a means for the car to be pulled over, they must actually have probable cause (crossing double yellows, swerving, speeding) to pull the vehicle over. Is this similar to other departments?
 

Ben E.

Member
May 21, 2010
2,417
Iowa, USA
wkr518 said:
anyone dong e-citations? A local PD here is looking into it to cut down on bad paperwork by steet officers.
I see LPR/ALPR/Plate Readers every place I go these days,even into rinky dink 2 car agencies.


E-citations like a laptop with a in-car printer? State patrol has been doing it for years here. There's some other agencies spread around that also do it.
 

rwo978

Member
May 21, 2010
5,196
ND, USA
Ours only runs against an NCIC database, so basically stolen, cars connected to felonies, and missing persons. It does NOT run a license check. We can also enter FYI stuff, like our sex offender's vehicles and other vehicles of interest, like narcotics investigations. If we get any hits, we MUST confirm with dispatch before any action is taken.


As far as it being a warrantless search, technically yes, it is. However, the guy obviously doesn't know what he's talking about. It's a "plain view" exception to the 4th amendment. Also, since the plate is in plain view and open to the public, there's no right to privacy. This too has been upheld by courts all over the US.


I love it when ignorant people spout off about stuff they have absolutely zero idea about. Makes for great entertainment. :)
 

Stendec

Member
May 21, 2010
816
FireEMSPolice said:
I like the cameras under the lightbar. Beats the huge gawdy ones mounted on the trunk lid.

There was a guy on AM 610-WTVN here in Columbus about 2 weeks ago going on and on and on about how this was a warrantless search, invasion of privacy, etc. He dedicated his whole show to it since one of the local departments got a grant for them.

If he wants his argument to carry any weight, seeing as how the state requires the plate, and issues the plate, and "owns" the roads, and and maintains them, and he has a visible VIN number on his dash, and with the case law on plain view and motor vehicle expectations of privacy is pretty clear cut, I'd recommend that he keep his car in his garage, with the door shut. Whether or not he stays in there with the engine running is up to him, but it doesn't sound like he'd be risking many brain cells.
 

wduda152

Member
Jun 5, 2010
90
Binghamton, NY
The county I used to live in had 1 reader, and the other patrol cars had MDT's. If it got a hit for suspended/expired the officer would have to radio the plate to confirm the reason then could pull the vehicle over. I guess if a suspended registration or license wasn't enough probable cause to pull over then I don't know what is. :p
 

UndercoverVLS

Member
Jun 1, 2010
337
NY
Amanda said:
From my understanding about ALPR, at least in my town, was that the PD can run the program/system, but whatever shows up on the computer (wanted suspect, stolen vehicle) is still not a means for the car to be pulled over, they must actually have probable cause (crossing double yellows, swerving, speeding) to pull the vehicle over. Is this similar to other departments?

As far as where I'm from, a stolen hit on a vehicle is probable cause for a felony stop here. I can see where in some states they might say a warrant hit might not be PC. The warrant is popping on the registered owner of the vehicle, as the plate would only show that name, and the owner may not be the person inside that vehicle. On a side note, within about 3 seconds I'm sure any officer can find the PC he needs to stop the vehicle.
 

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