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The Newest Technology In Law Enforcement

953 words - 4 pages

The license plate reader, LPR is a mobile plate hunter that comprises of a camera(s) placed on the outside of a squad car that is then connected to a computer database inside the squad car. The plate hunter has the capacity to recognize the character on a number plate and rapidly relay the information to the database computer that would verify of the owner or the automobile has any record or if the vehicle has been reported stolen/missing. This ability is even possible when the squad car is moving at 75 mph and can check up to 3, 000 number plates within an hour. Any offending incidence is brought to the attention of the officers by a siren or alarm the computer makes; stolen or revoked license. (Hanlon 2007)
The system is also able to pick the face of the driver and saves it for future or further referencing; if the face of the driver is already in the database as a wanted criminal or any other offense, the computer also raises an alarm. The benefit of the license plate reader as noted by the Dayton law enforcers is that the gadget/technology has provided more eyes on the road and made the job more effective. According to the California police department, the license plate reader enabled it to retrieve 275 stolen vehicles in a period of six months and make 50 arrests within the same time; these would not have been possible without the help of the technology. The system is also employed by the Border control officers whereby vehicles coming in are automatically registered and stored in the database. (Hanlon 2007)
The first challenges that the system incurred were poor images as a result of the sun or headlight effects which made it hard for the optical vision or yielded very poor images. That is history now as the advanced license reader is capable of picking any license plate under any weather condition and even in complete darkness. The system has been criticized as a breach into privacy and the first amendment as well as taking surveillance a notch higher than permissible. Law enforcers on the other hand have argued that the license plate reader is not discriminative and does not choose which license plate to read and raise alarm; it is not discretionary, it reads all the plates. (Beyerlein 2009)
The license plate reader is also looks after the well being of an officer in that after picking up a dangerous criminal, an officer will seek back up or will know how to approach such a situation rather than where an officer flags down a suspect not knowing how dangerous the criminal is. (Hanlon 2007)
Just like the license plate reader, civil societies are worried about the instant identification finger printing method employed by law enforcers in nabbing offenders. The gadget/ system which gives police an instant access to database for cross checking against the prints they have obtained from a suspect enables the officers to pick any data and history on the subject...

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