Redding residents with unregistered motor vehicles, suspended driver’s licenses or no car insurance might want to think twice about hitting the road.
Redding Police recently added a License Plate Reader to one of its cruisers, Chief Douglas Fuchs told Patch on Monday.
“It’s a tremendous research tool in addition to a tremendous on-the-spot enforcement tool,” Fuchs said. In about a second, the tool, he said, captures images of license plates on cars that pass by the cruiser on which it’s attached, at a speed up to 40 mph. Once captured, the tool runs the license plate against a database which matches it against a “hitlist” containing information of vehicles afoul of the law. “You’re finding the cars you want to get off the road.”
A license plate captured that is clean, so to speak, gets moved into a separate database. The contents of that database are purged every three or so weeks, Fuchs said, as more and more data is captured.
“We’re not running every plate, just checking them against a hotlist,” Fuchs said.
Fuchs said the tool is one of the most impressive technological advances he's seen in his career.
New information might take a few days to enter the system. If a car is on the "hitlist," it gives the police probable cause to stop the vehicle, Fuchs said.
The tool, manufactured by Brewster, N.Y.-based Elsag, costs $18,500, Fuchs said. The Redding Police Department obtained it through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.
Other departments — Danbury, Newtown, Brookfield, Naugatuck, Watertown and New Fairfield — also have the tool, Fuchs said.
“We’re pretty much blanketing the region with these,” Fuchs said, adding the tool's in use nationwide.