Police consider adding license plate readers to Spokane streets

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by OTHELLO RICHARDS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on June 19, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 19 at 10:07 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Police are looking to use newer technology to find stolen cars quicker. License plate scanners are not new in Spokane. Patrol cars were equipped with license plate scanners in 2009, but soon a different type of scanner could track car thieves.

“Instead of spending the salary of a police officer, technology is doing it,” said Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub.

He is referring to a license plate reader. Police in Post Falls, Idaho already use the new technology. The machine scans the license plate of every vehicle that passed. The machine then turns the image into computerized data which lets law enforcement know if the plate is stolen.

“I think it will have a direct impact on recovering stolen vehicles much quicker,” added Straub.

Post Falls police use mobile versions of the machine on patrol cars. PFPD leaders said last year they had a half a dozen stationary cameras placed throughout the area. The cameras scan 30,000 to 40,000 plates everyday. PFPD leaders said the cameras allowed them to follow dozens of stolen vehicle cases.

Straub said police can also input the license plate number of vehicles they want to search for as part of an investigation.

“If that car goes through that area and the fixed  position sees it, it automatically alerts,” added Straub.

Several cities have received state funding for the device. Straub said he is not saying exactly where the cameras would go if the Spokane Police Department purchases the technology.

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