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Drivers Beware, Redding Police Have New Technology

A Redding Police cruiser is now decked out in an $18,000 device that reads license plates, takes pictures of them and scans them into database to see if the vehicle is properly registered and insured.

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.

Bill October 19, 2011 at 02:04 PM
This is just another example of Homeland Security invading our privacy. In case people haven't notice, we are now living under a nationwide police state. It is important to note that the funding for this clever device came from Homeland Security. "Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security." Ben Franklin
Kailey October 19, 2011 at 02:37 PM
Well that's just great. Apparently Redding is such a high-risk place to exist in that we need to waste $18,500 on a device that does nothing except make driving through Redding a high-stress situation. Thanks a lot, Redding police department. I'm glad that you don't have anything better to do than sit in your car and snack while stalking the drivers of a small town.
matt October 19, 2011 at 03:51 PM
This is a crock of BS... there is nothing that happens in Redding that would warrant the use of this gorram machine. Its a waste of tax payer money...the redding PD ought to sell this back and take the money and put it into the school system for needed supplies and that kind of stuff...a lisence plate reader? That sounds super 1984 here folks.
Rick October 19, 2011 at 06:03 PM
It does seem a little extreme that redding police would need such a device. I would have perferred another officer add to the force. Redding is a large aerea to cover.
joanne Boucher October 19, 2011 at 08:27 PM
I think every police department should have one of these. Half the cars on the road have no insurance and drivers with no license. I bet the last 4 ignorant people who commented would be praising the police if one of those uninsured drivers plowed into their car causing damage and injury. Only those who break the law lose their privacy. The only thing that's a crock of BS is the people who think poorly of our police until they need them.
Bill October 20, 2011 at 12:16 AM
The pace to strip citizens of all our rights has been accelerating at a dizzying pace ever since 9/11. Ever hear of the Patriot Act? It supplanted our constitution and has stripped all of us of our 4th ammendment rights. Please google Aaron Russo, you tube, 'From Freedom to Facism.' The police, I'm sure are good people, but they too may not see the larger picture of Big brother. The idea is to 'compartmentalize' various agencies so that no single agency, like a small town police department - can see the larger more nefarious plan. Homeland Security help fund this venture and one must ask, 'why is Homeland Security concerned with Redding Citizens?' Also, please read the book, 'The Escape from Jekyll Island' by Edward Griffin. We are in precarious times, and most Americans don't see what really is going on. As I'm watching the news at this moment, the state of Mass. is instituting cameras on street lamps to scan license plates and some of you are fine with this too? We are supposed to be a government of the people, for the people and by the people. But are we really anymore, when we have spys watching us on every corner? I think not.
CelticFan191 October 21, 2011 at 04:05 PM
If you are obeying the law then, you have nothing to worry about. Whether you realize it or not, the drivers that do not carry the required insurance are raising your rates by making you pay premium for uninsured drivers coverage. Black Rock Tpke is an illegal alien pipeline between Bpt. & Danbury. The number of accidents that your first responders in Easton & Redding have to answer to is a large number and an extremely high percentage don't carry insurance and/or have foreign driver cards that have long outlasted their stays in this country. CT DMV is being denied revenues that is forcing the rest of the law abiding drivers to pay more. You people are naive if you don't think that there is a terrorist threat in this area. The Times Square Bomber was from Bridgeport and his vehicle was not insured- what if the Redding Cops picked him up before the threat and impounded the vehicle as state law calls for? I will take that oversight to keep US Citizens safe.
Robert Larsen June 13, 2012 at 05:54 PM
how many ticket total I wonder are any for moving violations are is it just relying on scanning plates? I am not sure how running a plate can determine insurance?! in my case I have insurance and a clean driving record for 20 years and have dealt with not being able to register a car for some unpaid car tax on a hummer I had that was already being taxed to much ! throw in a divorce and a recession I have been in a bind for 3 years 6K in car tax while I pay a car that sits with insurance I have been stoped in newtown for this and they towed the car and I had my daughter with me..now I rent a truck for $1400 a mth to operate! I do not agree with the camera systems If you get stopped for a moving violation that is different. But hey! its a funny thing when you kick someone when they are down! you have to make sure they stay down!
Robert Larsen June 13, 2012 at 06:02 PM
so the camera can invade your privacy? but you cant flash your high beams at someone to let them know there is a police car lurking? I am not against police But moving violations are different then spying why not put a breatilizer at The Redding Road house or Georgetown Salon Im sure you would find a lot of people over the limit getting into a registered car
Dan R December 12, 2012 at 02:20 PM
I'm not totally opposed to this device, and that might come as a shock to some, since I was pulled over for driving an unregistered vehicle after my plate was scanned. The twist to this is that I didn't know I was driving an unregistered vehicle. Because of a miscommunication at home, the car was not re-registered and I wouldn't have known this had the officer not stopped me. In all honesty, I was happy to have it happen in my home town rather than somewhere where I may not have been treated as kindly.
Morna Crites-Moore December 13, 2012 at 12:33 AM
"If you are obeying the law the you have nothing to worry about." Really? What happens when the law changes? Do you think a full-blown fascist government happens overnight? It does not. It happens step-by-step until one day you are told there is something you are no longer allowed to do (new law) and it's not something like being told not to drive an unregistered vehicle. It's more like you are no longer allowed to operate your business, or leave the country, or hold peaceful political demonstrations, or own a firearm, or ... whatever, pick your own hypothetical nightmare. And surveillance mechanisms have slowly become entrenched and ... you are under the rule of a dictatorship that knows your every movement.

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