Plate spotting by ProQuest

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									By Tabatha Wethal




                                                                                    LPR units act as
                                                                                    mechanical eyes
                                                                                    on the road




Plate spotting
S        teven Hedley says he didn’t
         even see the truck that night.
   It was pitch black, and he and his
                                            Hedley says. “If I did not have the
                                            LPR that night, I can only imagine,
                                            knowing what I know now, what
                                                                                   Task Force was used too.
                                                                                      The new system, the Mobile Plate
                                                                                   Hunter-900 from ELSAG North
partner were two among a few hun-           could have happened to those girls.”   America, uses infrared cameras,
dred officers spread throughout the                                                which scan for and capture images
City of Atlanta, patrolling as part         The technology at work                 of characters on plates. The process-
of a detail night with the Atlanta              ELSAG’s license plate reader       ing unit and software reference the
Police Department in Georgia. The           system doesn’t just read auto-         information collected by the camera
pair was on their way to a road             mated plates; its name declares it     against preloaded hotlists and sends
block when an electronic beep reg-          “hunts” them.                          automatic alerts when flagged plates
istered a passing vehicle tag as a law          Some license plate reader (LPR)    are recognized.
enforcement-flagged plate.                  proponents would go further to            “It all starts with the all-seeing
   The truck, indicated as a car-           personify the technology as an offi-   eye: That officer on the back of the
jacked vehicle, was carrying five           cer itself, constantly surveying for   car that never stops looking and
passengers, though Hedley and his           tags, but removed from human ele-      [has] the ability of running dozens
partner, Ilka Torres, didn’t know it        ments like fatigue and distraction.    and dozens of tags every minute,”
at the time.                                It sure beat the manual survey and     says Hedley.
   “You never know what that car            hard-copy hotlist reference method        Once the LPR unit identifies a
that you’re passing is wanted for,”         Hedley and the Atlanta Auto Theft      vehicle of interest, officers take the

48    Law Enforcement Technology   ■   April 2009   ■   www.officer.com
In our line of work, lives are on the
line. When our equipment fails, so
do we. That’s why we need more
than just a product. We need a
software company who will be there
for us, no matter what. We need a
partner. We’ve found that partner in
EmergiTech. EmergiTech’s products
and behind the scenes support help
                                                  technical element out of it and implement the human
us stay focused on the business of                element, rerunning the registration and making sure the
  ghting crime and saving lives.                  vehicle is still of interest; still listed as stolen, for example.
                                                     In October 2006, when the LPR unit alerted Hedley
                                                  and his partner to the hot vehicle, Hedley was still test-
                                                  ing the technology o
								
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