Wednesday, May 04, 2011

license plate readers

Yesterday Police Chief Joseph DeCarlo met with the Town Board to discuss an innovative initiative that could cut down on crime—license plate readers. A license plate reader is a computerized system with integrated cameras, mounted on the outside of a vehicle or mounted on a fixed location. The police department currently has some license readers on police cars. It can take about 20 pictures per second per camera. It matches those plate read to a hotlist instantly alerting police to stolen vehicles, DMV infractions, amber alert hits and the NYS violent gang/terrorist organization file. Hotlist comes from DMV through NYS police and can be customized for local needs, including lists of persons wanted on local criminal warrants.
The photo of the plate and car surrounding it are saved. If a hit with hotlist, alarm sounds. All scanned plates are downloaded to a central server. LPR data may be analyzed by the Westchester Intelligence Center and is included in the larger pool of LPR data for the NY metropolitan area for use by law enforcement agencies including but not limited to the Joint Terrorist Task Force and NYPD Intel.
Participating sharing agencies limit the use of the data for law enforcement agencies. Some residents have expressed concern about privacy issues. The chief indicated that the license plate reader info would not be used for civil matters. The license plate readers can be used to catch would be burglars and to cut down on local crime. The town will be seeking grants for the license plate readers. I have advised the Police Chief that I would be willing to support the funding of two readers to be placed in a section of town that has experienced burglaries.