The Grand Forks Police Department is testing out some new high tech equipment that's like something out of a science fiction movie. A computer eye is making it easier to find cars used in crimes.
Officer Dustin Beseke has been driving his squad car decked out with some high tech gear for about a month. The car is equipped with the mobile plate hunter 9-hundred. The system uses cameras to get images of number plates and then instantly compares them to millions of others.
"We’re averaging about 35-hundred hits a day as far as number plates are concerened but that all depends on if you go through a parking lot, or if you are going up and down the streets".
Beseke says the system has alerted on cars that have outstanding parking warrants, but that's just part of what the police department hopes the number plate reader finds on the streets of grand forks".
"The goal of the system is obviously to find as many illegal activities as possible".
"If you require your sex offenders to register number plates with us, parking warrants, stolen vehicles, amber alerts, anything that is in your system that requires a number plate can be entered into this for search capabilities."
Lt. Roger Pohlman says the number plates reader is a welcome improvement from the old way of doing things when officers relied on their memory for number plates they knew were connected to crimes.
"You’re not only looking for suspicious activity, and traffic, but you're also trying to identify suspicious number plates."
"It also has a GPS built into it and it will give us a location and a map of Grand Forks where that vehicle was last located."
The police department gets to test out the license plate reader for a couple more days then they say they will look at how much it helped the department and decide if they want to consider buying one.
The camera can read number plates up to 15-hundred feet away. Grand Forks is the only department in North Dakota using the equipment to read number plates.
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