License Plate Scanners

Imagine you are running to the grocery store for a quick errand and you’re almost home when you notice the flashing lights of a police officers pulling you over.  As the officer approaches you, you wonder what you did wrong.  He takes your drivers license and comes back and says that the license plate scanner came with a hit on your vehicle for an unpaid parking ticket.

There having been strong movements in the state of Missouri to use License Plate Readers (LPR) to find stolen vehicles.  Also, to find those who own any unpaid tickets.

City Council approved a measure in July to have a scanner installed after discussion with Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams. The squad car would be taken to Jefferson City so it could be modified and have the LPR installed.

St. Louis and Columbia are two major cities in Missouri who are using LPRs.

Recently civil rights activists have been questioning the reasons of having LPRs put in place.  There are various databases that can be used for different areas of filtration.  Examples are searching for tickets, warrants, stolen vehicle reports, and this can access an all in-state database. Another database is where all the license plates are recorded by specific time, date, and location.

Activists in Arnold City, Mo. feel there is no reason for their license plate to be recorded after a scan that showed anything wrong in the first place.

Chief Williams said the LPR would not record all license plates, only the ones that came up with particular hit for warrants, tickets, and stolen vehicles.

The reason for LPRs are to help officers with their patrolling and this helps them be more effective.  It is the same as if the officer where to run the license plate through the database, but only easier because it eliminates the typing and the scanners works faster.

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