"Plate Hunter" license plate reading system on display for police - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

"Plate Hunter" license plate reading system on display for police

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

By Steve Phillips – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Law enforcement officers from across the state are on the coast this week attending the annual police chiefs conference in Biloxi. And technology is an important part of the annual convention.

The exhibit hall at IP casino resort and spa is filled with the latest high tech machines and gadgets; all designed to make the job easier, faster and better for police officers.

Laptops and video cameras in police cars have become almost commonplace. The latest technology is a "silent partner" that reads and processes license plate numbers.

Police officers discuss and admire the latest high tech tools for law enforcement. Veteran officers say, "My, how times have changed!"

"It's night and day," said D'Iberville Police Chief Wayne Payne. "When I started in this business, my computer was a notebook. And you hand wrote everything. Now, you sit at a computer and type everything in."

The latest breath-alyzers are on display, along with fingerprint ID systems, computers and digital cameras.

"We are all about in-car camera systems and computer systems for the patrol cars. Allow the officers to link back into NCIC and run traffic information and local warrants right there on the scene," said technology vendor Joe Payne.

Mississippi's Highway Patrol packs digital video capability in its rear view mirrors.

"Everything is right there in that mirror so it doesn't take up any space in the cars. We've got a covert backseat camera. We've got GPS. We've got battery back-up on it," said vendor Sandi Lopeman.

We took a test ride with the latest license plate identification system.

The "Mobile Plate Hunter 900" is capable of reading and processing up to 3,000 license plates a minute.

"As they're out on routine patrol, the cameras automatically read the tags, match them against the data base and within a millisecond will come back with any stolen vehicles, wanted people of anybody from the terror watch list," said vendor Sheri Taynor.

The high tech tag reader is being used in all 50 states by some 600 law enforcement agencies. The license identification system costs around $20,000.

So far it has withstood criticism by some that say the "tag reader" violates a person's "right to privacy."  The vendor said its proven success rate in capturing criminals more than offsets such complaints.

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