NEW SYSTEMS, SUCH as the one shown above, are now being used in the patrol cars driven by the Sullivan County SHeriff's Department. The systems use modern technology to use information from license plates to complete criminal background checks, amber alerts, and criminal investigations.
Patrol Cars Can 'Read'
By Jeanne Sager
MONTICELLO December 26, 2006 “Big brother is here,” Undersheriff Eric Chaboty said last week.
The second-in-command at the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department was unveiling the force’s latest weapon in the war on crime, cameras that will be mounted on every patrol car in the fleet.
The Remington Mobile Plate Hunter 800 can process up to 400 license plates in a single minute, matching numbers pulled off every vehicle the deputies pass with a database of stolen vehicles and the cars and trucks registered to wanted felons.
“The car itself may not be stolen, but the person who owns it may be wanted, or it could be tied to an Amber Alert where that car was seen leaving the last place a child was seen,” Chaboty explained. “It could lead us to other things.”
Rather than taking pictures, the camera has an algorithm programmed into it, allowing it to take the information it sees (in this case license plate numbers) and process them as numbers rather than a picture.
As deputies patrol the county, the machine will be linked to a computer in their car.
If a match comes up, a warning will sound, and the deputies will call in to dispatch to determine they have indeed found something. If they get confirmation, the deputies will then be able to pull a car over and proceed with their investigation.
Chaboty said the money for the new system came from a grant from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, a total of $20,000. The Sheriff’s Department has already made 20 arrests using the new system.
“There is no doubt that this piece of equipment will increase the efficiency of our law enforcement officers in fighting crime,” said Sheriff Michael Schiff.