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License plate readers make an impact with law enforcement

Sunday, July 28, 2013 5:00 PM
Last updated Monday, July 29, 2013 1:00 AM
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Local law enforcement offices could gain an additional set of eyes on the road through license plate reader technology.

Richmond County Sheriff's Deputy Terry Skinner stands with two of the four license plate readers mounted atop the trunk lid of his police cruiser.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Richmond County Sheriff's Deputy Terry Skinner stands with two of the four license plate readers mounted atop the trunk lid of his police cruiser.


Even in the testing phase, the readers have made an impact.

On July 25, A Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Dodge Charger equipped with four cameras patrolled the streets of Augusta.

As the car reached the 800 block of Laney Walker Boulevard, an alert sounded in the vehicle, notifying Deputy Terry Skin­ner that the Mercedes Benz M50 he just passed was wanted in connection with a felony.

Skinner stopped the SUV, called for backup and arrested Anthony L. Hannah, 45, who had an outstanding warrant.

Skinner’s patrol car is the only one at the sheriff’s office outfitted with the readers. The agency is slowly acquainting itself with the technology, Lt. Lewis Blanchard said.

“Right now it’s only a testing and evaluation phase,” he said. “We’ve got this company and two other companies that are going to let us have (the readers) for 30 days for testing and evaluation each.”

The system being tested uses four cameras mounted on the trunk. The unit snaps photos of license plates as the patrol car passes vehicles and communicates with the Geor­gia Crime Information Cen­ter to verify information and spot offenders, Blanchard said.

“This tag reader can scan 1,000 cars in 10 minutes, while we can only physically scan so much,” he said.

Blanchard said the units range in price from $12,000 to $15,000.

“It all comes down to the pros and cons,” he said. “Are the benefits of this (reader) over that one worth the extra money?”

The Aiken County Sher­iff’s Office has had its eye on license plate readers for a while, Capt. Eric Abdullah said.

“We’re still researching and trying to find funding options,” he said. “We had a demo, but we haven’t tested any readers as of yet.”

Abdullah said the readers used in Aiken County will mostly benefit tax enforcement officers looking for those who haven’t renewed their vehicle registration.

In Richmond County, the readers are expected to see action in the traffic and crime supression divisions, Blanchard said. Cars equipped with tag readers won’t be restricted to patrolling a predetermined area like most cruisers.

The parameters can be adjusted on the readers to pick up certain types of offenses, from expired registrations to vehicles associated with felonies.

The Richmond County Sher­iff’s Office hasn’t determined where the money to buy the readers would come from, but it expects to have the readers on the budget for next year, Blanchard said.

Abdullah said the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office hopes to purchase readers before the end of the year.

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AutumnLeaves
10234
Points
AutumnLeaves 07/28/13 - 05:24 pm
7
3
I believe anyone trying to

I believe anyone trying to elude detection with filtered tags and windows tinted over the legal limit, should be pulled over, warned and if caught again during a certain period of time without it being fixed, fined. Filtered tags and over-tinted windows should be considered suspicious activity, except for certain necessary vehicle categories, like law enforcement vehicles.

Just My Opinion
6251
Points
Just My Opinion 07/28/13 - 05:59 pm
10
5
I think this is a great

I think this is a great thing! You know there are just SO many people driving around with pending infractions. This new system just increases the odds that the bad guys will get caught.
This is not new technology. I've been watching the same type system on the cable show called "Parking Wars". I think the show is in Philadelphia. One part of the show features a team that drives around town, and the machine squawks when it "sees" a car tag with some sort of problem associated with it. The team stops and immediately place a "boot" on the wheel that prevents the car from being moved...and that allows the tow truck to retrieve it. Almost always, the owners ain't too happy!!

ken8375309
1785
Points
ken8375309 07/28/13 - 06:52 pm
13
7
Orwell's 1984 was not an

Orwell's 1984 was not an instruction manual for the government.. Too much intrusion.. Goodbye freedom..

----------------------------------------------------

”Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” ”He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither.”

Benjamin Franklin

saywhatagain
418
Points
saywhatagain 07/28/13 - 08:40 pm
11
5
Great idea, but...

Great idea, but it is predicated upon the premise that those who have or can obtain access to the data are 100% honest. I don't know about you guys, but I've afraid of my government the past four years.

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 07/28/13 - 09:58 pm
13
5
Everyone's a cheerleader

... for new technology. Problem is, the information is put in by minimum wage un-fireable workers, and if this system is on par with other government data bases, will at any time contain roughly 20% incorrect, incomplete, or out of date information.

Just wait when (not if) some pee-in-his pants scared cop thinking he's got public enemy #1, shoots some mother of four for not rolling down her window quickly enough.

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 07/28/13 - 09:59 pm
7
4
Sounds like the ideal tool

... for stalker cops.

Bizkit
35453
Points
Bizkit 07/28/13 - 10:14 pm
10
1
Roe vs Wade wasn't really

Roe vs Wade wasn't really about abortion but the right to privacy. We have a right to privacy. I would love for this to be brought before the SCOTUS because will all due respect How can you give a right to privacy to women and not the entire driving population at large. The police can't barge in your home without probable cause. But now we see law enforcement abuse this power. Freedom is the only thing America has left and we are losing it.

specsta
7137
Points
specsta 07/29/13 - 01:47 am
10
2
Adios, Fourth Amendment

This is a bad idea. This technology basically means that a dragnet search of ALL vehicles, without probable cause, is now somehow allowable - despite the Fourth Amendment.

Who's to say some officer couldn't input parameters of female drivers under 25, in order to gain access to personal information - and to approach them?

What's next, drones in the sky to watch our every move? Microphones in streetlights to record our private conversations in public?

Tell me one good reason why tag searches of every vehicle a cop car passes is a good idea - cause I can't think of any. All it will take is one error for some innocent civilian to wind up dead - all because of a false hit on a car tag.

This technology is an unreasonable search without probable cause. Unless a driver is committing some sort of misdemeanor or felony, why would a driver be subject to a search?

Of course, there's always the old argument that it'll catch a few crooks. So will a national ID card and facial scans of citizens walking on the street. But at what price to our liberty? I would rather a few crooks get away, than to destroy our concept of freedom in this society. There is always a price we must pay for freedom.

http://www.aclu.org/files/assets/071613-aclu-alprreport-opt-v05.pdf

Riverman1
93339
Points
Riverman1 07/29/13 - 03:13 am
8
2
May Be a Surprising Number

I wouldn't be surprised if about half the vehicles downtown have problematic tags or drivers.

Casting_Fool
1175
Points
Casting_Fool 07/29/13 - 04:29 am
8
3
It's a really bad idea. Like

It's a really bad idea. Like the IRS scandal, all they have to do is flag certain people's tags and round them up. 1984 indeed.

corgimom
38278
Points
corgimom 07/29/13 - 05:01 am
7
10
Or, you could take the

Or, you could take the attitude that if you don't do anything wrong, you don't have any thing to worry about.

It is amazing to me all the gloom-and-doomers that immediately dream up imaginary scenarios about EVERYTHING.

Of course, if one of those people is the victim of a crime, and the criminal is caught using the scanner, they won't complain.

You just can't please some people. What a way to live your life, to imagine dire scenarios over everything.

corgimom
38278
Points
corgimom 07/29/13 - 05:03 am
3
9
"Who's to say some officer

"Who's to say some officer couldn't input parameters of female drivers under 25, in order to gain access to personal information - and to approach them? "

Of course, those same officers don't have eyes in their head, and can't look at a woman and say "She's under 25, I'd like to meet her, so I'll stop her vehicle."

Honestly, some of the stuff that some people dream up! What an imagination!

wribbs
521
Points
wribbs 07/29/13 - 05:36 am
9
1
Your papers please. You do

Your papers please. You do not have zee papers?

GnipGnop
12744
Points
GnipGnop 07/29/13 - 06:14 am
4
2
Why don't you...

just ask countyman...he knows where all the tags are in the CSRA....

southern2
7768
Points
southern2 07/29/13 - 07:10 am
3
0
I'm waiting on the racial

I'm waiting on the racial profiling charge based on the pic of Fox Den in the paper edition.

seenitB4
97020
Points
seenitB4 07/29/13 - 07:31 am
4
1
Well I can vouch that it works :)

A few years back I was stopped by the Suwanee police....we were riding through their Town center & the puter picked up my tag as having 0 owner...no good in other words....weeeel I saw him & drove with extreme caution & he stopped me anyway...naturally my feathers were ruffled & the 1st thing I said as "What have I done wrong officer" with some rudeness in my voice...he wanted to know how long I had owned the car....well just so happened just a few months...we had traded cars & he wanted to know what we had...I told him & he then explained why he stopped me...the car dealer had assured me the paper work was taken to tag/office & completed...wellll it was not & we had more to pay in taxes.....our fault too....& we corrected it that day...soooo more taxes will get paid on car trades.....so it really is a good thing. btw--the nice black policeman let me go & chalked it up to 2 oldies but goodies.:):)

corgimom
38278
Points
corgimom 07/29/13 - 07:49 am
3
4
"Who's to say some officer

"Who's to say some officer couldn't input parameters of female drivers under 25, in order to gain access to personal information - and to approach them? "

I'm still trying to figure this out, I've registered cars in 5 states, and I have never had to provide my age or gender for the car registration.

corgimom
38278
Points
corgimom 07/29/13 - 07:50 am
2
2
Gnip Gnop, your post made me

Gnip Gnop, your post made me laugh!

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
11036
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 07/29/13 - 08:33 am
4
3
It's amazing!

The same people who protest live their entire lives on Facebook!!

dichotomy
37379
Points
dichotomy 07/29/13 - 08:33 am
8
3
It is 1984. I know most of

It is 1984. I know most of you who have not been "wronged" think this is a good idea. But it is just another step toward a police state.

"What's next, drones in the sky to watch our every move? Microphones in streetlights to record our private conversations in public?"

Too late, already happening. We know there are drones. We know cities are deploying cameras all over town. And do we know for sure that those cameras don't also have an audio capability? Would you really spend all that money for video without including capability for each camera to have a microphone?

Just think back. When we first started "no-knock" search warrants, there were about 3,000 of those a year. Last year there were 80,000. We've had innocent people shot, hundreds of "wrong address" doors kicked in during the middle of the night. Father's shot and killed trying to protect their families from strange people kicking in their door in the middle of the night. A 7 year old child shot while sleeping on her couch when the real target apartment was 2 floors above her apartment. 80,000 no-knock searches. And, many times they do them simply on anonymous tips. Make your neighbor angry, he calls in an anonymous tip, and the SWAT team comes kicking in your door at 3 AM, and kills you if you pick up your weapon to protect your family. And now EVEN THE CRIMINALS ARE HOLLERING "SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT" or "POLICE" and kicking in your door at night. Do you shoot? Do you lay down and hope it's not the crooks coming to rob you and rape your wife and daughter. Do you start launching bullets and our "friendly" police department and let them cut you down in a hail of bullets? The young father who was trying to protect his family was shot 60 times by his friendly local police who were in the wrong apartment.

And of course we now have all of the traffic "operations" where the police get in their practice at conducting roadblocks and random searches of vehicles and looking at your "papers".

The NSA is monitoring all of our phone and internet traffic. The DOJ is wiretapping journalists and.....the rest of us?????

Local law enforcement agencies all over the country are accumulating armored vehicles.

The IRS and the EPA are buying up TONS of ammunition.

And with all of this surveillance, they STILL missed the Boston bombers, even when another country's intelligence agency POINTED THEM OUT. So, do you really think all of this police state is directed to terrorists and criminals? Or did they miss the Boston bombers because they are too busy WATCHING US?

We already have the IRS and EPA using their federal powers against private groups. We have government employees leaking political candidates tax records and THEN DESTROYING the records of who accessed the information. They are monitoring EVERY financial transaction you make. And soon they will be monitoring EVERY medical complaint and treatment you get.

Folks, we already ARE in a police state and this is just another expansion. Sure, they will catch a few crooks and a bunch of minor infractions.....but it's all practice for the big crackdown....TOTAL CONTROL.

And the really bad thing is that it is not even some secret plot. It's not THE PLAN. It is simply the natural progression of an out of control, unrestrained, centralized federal government coupled with the right combination of politicians and political appointees who are inclined to use that unrestrained power.

charlie marlow
166
Points
charlie marlow 07/29/13 - 08:45 am
5
1
Depends on retention policies

If these scanners are merely reading plates and comparing them to a database without storing the numbers or locations, I don't have too much trouble with the technology as it really wouldn't go that far beyond what an observant individual with excellent memory could accomplish.

However, I have no way of knowing that such systems don't store location history of vehicles and the behavior of the federal government has made me disinclined to believe any law enforcement agency that says no data will be stored or that only data on the "bad guys" will be stored. To the government, it seems, we are, all, potential criminals in need of investigation.

Bulldog
1333
Points
Bulldog 07/29/13 - 09:27 am
4
3
Excellent Community Policing!

The number of people riding around on expired licenses and/or no insurance is legion. The number of people with felony and misdemeanor warrants outstanding is amazing! This is a great way to cut these lists down to size. I suspect that the courts need to brace for the crowd if these readers do get installed in a substantial way. Having said that I am not inclined to allow retention of the raw data in some huge databank forever. I suspect that someone in our state delegation needs to look at this.

crossyourarms
218
Points
crossyourarms 07/29/13 - 11:27 am
1
0
So when a warrant is issued

So when a warrant is issued for someone's arrest, it just sits in a database until a cop happens to spot their car? And now with these cameras, we'll starting catching them?

Someone mentioned uninsured motorists. How will cameras know if the driver is insured? Last I experienced, cops still ask to see proof of insurance.

Sweet son
11514
Points
Sweet son 07/29/13 - 11:31 am
0
0
Put in the tags of cars up for repo too!

Then have a repo wrecker call list. Call the next wrecker on the repo wrecker list to pick up the vehicle. Charge the wrecker companies a fee for locating the collateral and use those funds to pay for the reader equipment.

People who don't pay their bills will give me plenty of thumbs down!

Dixieman
17266
Points
Dixieman 07/29/13 - 11:33 am
3
3
It's good

This technology is not doing ANYTHING that could not be done by a live policeman by the side of the road checking license plates -- it's just cheaper and more efficient than that extra cop.
And driving on public roads is NOT a private activity. When you're out in public, anyone can observe you. Fourth Amendment does not cover this.

itsanotherday1
48179
Points
itsanotherday1 07/29/13 - 11:41 am
2
0
Used properly, this is a

Used properly, this is a great tool. In its basic operation, it is doing no more than humans, just more and faster. If a deputy calling in a tag number is not an invasion of privacy, then this isn't either, used as intended.

I can see potential problems though, as several above have noted. What if there was a database issue that had my tag number associated with a 10 most wanted felon? I just might step out of the car with a bit of confusion and attitude if pulled over. Would I get shot, or hammered into the ground with a knee in my neck and face ground into the pavement?

What if an overzealous deputy cruises through the parking lots of bars/restaurants, then has the ability to look for those tag numbers when patrolling? Might he look for/fabricate a reason to stop you and check for alcohol?

Lots of potential for abuse, and if we could protect against that, I would not mind this being put into use.

myfather15
56419
Points
myfather15 07/29/13 - 12:10 pm
1
3
Anything that helps law

Anything that helps law enforcement do their job, and hinders criminals slightly, will be opposed by liberals; EVERY TIME!!!

myfather15
56419
Points
myfather15 07/29/13 - 12:23 pm
0
3
I bet if Specsta's vehicle

I bet if Specsta's vehicle was stolen and then recovered using these devices (Which happens frequently); they wouldn't have such a big problem with it.

How exactly does a random check on tags, reduce our freedom? I would just like an explanation on this. That doesn't restrict where you may go, or what you may do, does it?

To me; it simply means if you haven't renewed your tag you might get discovered a little easier; how is that such a blatant violation of ones rights or freedom?

If you deciced to ride around in a stolen vehicle, you might be discovered easier; how is this even bad?

Anyone who has read my comments, knows I'm NOT a big government kind of guy. But the over reaction to this is ridiculous!!

My biggest problem with the system is that I feel it will target poor people, who probably couldn't afford to renew their tag at the time. Not that they shouldn't renew it, but these things will catch poor people much more often.

Fiat_Lux
16419
Points
Fiat_Lux 07/29/13 - 01:06 pm
1
0
The real problem has to do with

who gets to decide if what I am doing is wrong.

Like going to church on Sunday mornings, or protesting abortion on demand in front of our local abortuaries, or putting up Christmas decorations, or doing a caravan up Washington Road with gigantic menorahs strapped in the beds of trucks.

Think about how people are being locked up in some countries of Europe for speaking their opinions about Islam or their governments or some other protected group. Remember what was attempted here regarding "hate speech" on the radio?

What happens when it's no longer legal to be Jewish or Catholic or Evangelical or pro-life, or to speak out against being forced to accommodate gays when that lifestyle is diametrically opposed to the laws of morality of one's personal faith, or protesting having illegal aliens steal our shrinking medical resources simply simply because they show up and demand care? The list is endless, but the point is the erosion of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

It is the goal of libtards and Dim-oc-rats to control everyone--what we think and what we say and do--so that it conforms to the soulless mush-minded garbage that even cattle would find boring and tedious.

Each new little tweak that adds to the effective surveillance of private citizens represents another step in that direction, the transformation of our nation into barren corral for the cattle that we are allowing ourselves to become because so many have abdicated their personal responsibility to police themselves and live as productive adults.

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