Daily Management Review

License Plate Reader Helped Police Pick up Virginia Journalist Killer


08/27/2015




License Plate Reader Helped Police Pick up Virginia Journalist Killer
The latest technology for license plate reading was behind the police nabbing Vester Lee Flanagan’s car after he shot and killed two TV journalist in Verginia on Wednesday.

Flanagan’s Chevrolet was identified on Interstate 66 at approximately 11:20 a.m. ET by the license plate reader in the vehicle of Virginia State Trooper Pamela Neff.

Flanagan had shot himself before the police could nab him. He was fleeing the spot after shooting and killing a TV journalist and a cameraman while the duo was on duty reporting live. The entire incident of the shooting was captured live on TV and the footage helped identify the killer.

Despite in use for quite some time now, the automatic license plate readers are not very well known as surveillance technology that is used by the law enforcement departments to track America’s motorists.
The gadget that can read details of a license plate and track the owner of the vehicle, can mounted on anything from bridges and overpasses to road signs and police cars.

“Technology picked it up,” explained Sgt. Rick Garletts of the Virginia State Police, during a press conference Wednesday.

“Once a license plate is entered into the system, that reader will be able to identify that license plate when it passes,” he added.  

“License plate readers are a great tool,” he added. “It helped in that case to identify that vehicle,” Garlettts said.

The license plate reader is not state specific and hence once a license plate reader identifies a license number on the plate, the department has to make sure that the identified plate is the car that the law enforcement agencies are looking out for.

The readers have very high-speed cameras that take pictures of thousands of license plates per minute. The software installed in the reader analyses the pictures for a license plate number.

The number thus obtained is then checked against “hot lists,” including stolen vehicles or those subject to an Amber alert search. This completes the identification process and the law enforcement officials can then be notified if there is a match. Various regional law enforcement databases get the image and identified plate number, along with date, time and location of the picture taken.

The initiative to use license plate readers began in 2011 when a survey among the police agencies found that almost three-quarters of police agencies polled in favour of license plate readers while 85 percent were planning to increase their use over the next five years.

It has been reported that the Department of Homeland Security had spent $50 million in federal grants to law enforcement agencies over the preceding five years to purchase the technology.

Though in the case of Flanagan, the license plate reader has been able to show a legitimate use by the law enforcement agencies, there have been allegations by the civil liberation society that the technology is used by the police on millions of innocent drivers whose travels and activities are tracked in the process without the driver’s knowledge.
 
Sticky darts that enable GPS tracking of suspects’ vehicles to high-tech LED flashlights are some of the latest technologies that the law enforcement agencies are utilizing more and more to nab criminals.
 
(Source:www.foxnews.com & www.newsweek.com) 






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