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City police to get mobile licence plate scanners

Automated Licence Plate Recognition computer installed in an OPP cruiser.

North Bay Police Services is getting $174,228 from the Province to acquire or enhance Automated Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology.

The system consists of cameras that automatically scan licence plates. It's installed on active-duty police cruisers and alerts officers to stolen or expired plates, or plates registered to suspended drivers. The system can also notify officers of missing and wanted persons and vehicles associated with AMBER alerts.

Able to scan two license plates per second, the camera instantly sends plate information to an onboard computer, which then emits a tone indicating a scan has taken place.

If the scan is a "hit" the computer alerts the officer to the type of offense, and whether it's a high priority --- stolen vehicle or suspended license --- or run-of-the-mill expired plate sticker.

Each daily shift begins with the uploading of a Ministry of Transportation "hotlist" of plates, typically topping 10,000,000.

See: Technology gives cops the upper hand

ALPR technology does not detect moving violations such as speeding, going through a red light or stop sign, and distracted driving.

It's part of Ontario’s recent move to eliminate licence plate renewal fees and stickers for passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks, motorcycles and mopeds by allowing licence plate information to be read automatically without requiring an officer to see a physical licence sticker to validate a vehicle.

“This technology provides the tools necessary for law enforcement to be more efficient in their policing,” said MPP Vic Fedeli.

Local OPP has had the technology for 12 years.