$60,000 grant expands SPD technology to track stolen cars

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by SHAWN CHITNIS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on November 4, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 4 at 8:00 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--A grant from the Department of Justice is paying for more automatic license plate readers in Spokane.

City leaders said the grant will more than double the number of license plate readers within Spokane.

"They help us to be able to more quickly and efficiently recover stolen vehicles,” said Sergeant Lydia Taylor. “They also free up a lot of the officers time to help with ongoing investigations."

Officers said that will help them with checking for stolen cars at a rate they could never do on their own.
Police are trying to lower crime numbers across the City and they say these automatic license plate readers will help them in more than one way.

Spokane already had two readers and now it will have a total of five.

Each will be mounted on a police car with a computer inside. The technology alerts officers if a vehicle is stolen.

"With one of the new units, we can read about 4,000 plates,” said Taylor. “And before having them, an officer manually on a good day could enter maybe 200 so we're able to recover more stolen cars."
   
None of the plate readers will be at a specific location according to SPD leaders, but they are considering that option in the future.

The federal funding goes to the City of Spokane and Spokane County. County leaders will use $35,000 for a criminal history specialist. About $60,000 will pay for the City's new readers. SPD leaders said they will also use more than $20,000 for updated patrol rifles and cars.

Police said they found 30 stolen cars in three months within out the readers.

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