Through funding received by a recent Justice Assistance Grant, (JAG), the Fayetteville Police Department recently purchased two license plate reader systems to assist officers in locating stolen vehicles.
The systems were purchased for approximately $30,000 through a company, ELSAG of North America. The Fayetteville Police Department is the second agency in North Carolina to utilize this type of technology.
The readers have been in use for approximately one month and are currently installed in two patrol cars within the Campbellton and Cross Creek districts of the city. Each vehicle is equipped with 3 cameras placed on the trunk of the vehicle. The cameras utilize Optical Character Recognition, or OCR technology to scan and read up to 1100 license plates per minute, eliminating the officer’s need to manually enter license plate numbers into a computer database.
Within the first week of the readers being installed, an officer conducting routine patrol in the Marketfair Mall parking lot off of Skibo road, located a stolen vehicle after the reader scanned and identified the vehicle as being stolen out of Fayetteville.
Currently, the readers are interfaced with the Fayetteville Police Department’s records system which allows officers the ability to locate any stolen vehicle reported within the city. The police department has obtained permission from the State Bureau of Investigations and is in the process of interfacing the reader systems with the state system. Traffic Supervisor, Sergeant Eric Dow commented, “once we interface with the state, the readers will be able to alert an officer on Silver Alerts, Amber Alerts, and vehicles that have been reported stolen throughout the entire state.”
The police department is currently in the process of obtaining a third reader which is scheduled to be in place by the end of the year. Police Chief Tom Bergamine stated “we are very excited to have this technology within our department to assist us with the identification and quicker apprehension of suspects.”
Photographs of the reader system are attached to this release.