New technology is enhancing the way Erie Police find vehicles and wanted individuals.
The department has had the technology for less than two months. It’s already scanned more than 250,000 plates, alerting police of a variety of issues.
Erie Police Captain Rick Lorah says, “It’s able to scan and take a photo and spit that out within a split second.”
He says since being installed in October, the technology has directly led to 12 arrests, three stolen automobiles, a stolen plate, and numerous traffic citations.
“LPR’s that are running are finding expired registration, expired insurance, unlicensed drivers and wanted people.”
The system is averaging about 6,000 plates every 24 hours.
Erie Police Chief Dan Spizarny says that’s saving time. “The officer doesn’t have to be looking at their keyboard, entering plates. It does it much faster. More efficient. I think it’s a great tool.”
Police also say they’ll be able to more efficiently put boots on vehicles with outstanding parking fines that now amount to more than $3 million.
Lorah says, “We’re obviously going to let the license plate reader do the work for us and we’re going to locate these cars much faster and hopefully get these individuals in to pay their fines.”
A grant from the Pennsylvania Auto Theft Prevention Authority paid for the equipment, software, and storage. A $20,000 price tag that’s already paying off.
“They’re actually saying it’s by far one of the best tools they’ve ever been given in their law enforcement careers,” Lorah tells us. “So, I mean, that tells you something that these are guys that are on the street everyday and they have this tool, now, that’s allowing them to do their job better.”
The license plate reader is installed on only one vehicle currently. In the event that they’re able to secure more grant money, the department says they’d be interested in putting the system on more cruisers.