City, County Police Deploy License Plate Cameras

City and county police are automatically running checks on every license plate that they see, Ted Strong writes in the Daily Progress. Each department has a single camera rig that’s attached to a police car—it detects the numbers on each and every license plate that’s within the cameras’ range and checks to see if it’s in their database of wanted vehicles. The city started using the system this summer, the county earlier this month. An electronic log of every license plate spotted by the system is retained—the city keeps the data for three months, the county for two. The system doesn’t scan for plates with expired inspections or registrations, for lack of a database to interface with.

4 Responses to “City, County Police Deploy License Plate Cameras”


  • This is a good idea, I guess, as long they’re honest about what the data is being used for.

    If my car got stolen, I’d certainly want robots checking every license plate.

    I wonder, though: why are they storing this data? If the license plate isn’t on the list of wanted vehicles, then it’s on to the next one. What purpose does storing the data serve?

  • A friend of mine told me that VA Beach police used a similar system to catch a guy that murdered one of his co-workers. After the murder, the guy stole the victim’s car which the system had flagged as “wanted”.

  • RFID tags in your tires… paranoia or not…

  • I remember being told many years ago that police in Fairfax County (and I assumed elsewhere) did this manually at traffic lights. They used their in-car computer or SCMODS or whatever they had to run the plates of all the cars around them, just in case.

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