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License plate recognition working for North Bay Police

'This tool is just a trigger for the officers to further investigations'
One of the new ALPR systems installed into a North Bay Police Service SUV.

The North Bay Police Service is having success with some new technology that puts more scrutiny on North Bay area drivers. 

Since January, it has been using the Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) System.

It is a license plate recognition program that allows vehicles caught by cameras to have their license plate read and recorded. 

Inspector Jeff Warner says they started using it this year.

"A three-month pilot project started in January with only two vehicles equipped with the technology and a limited amount of officers," explained Warner. 

"During that time we had 19 violations along with four people caught driving while under suspension."

 Warner says from April to May 14 the numbers escalated with most cruisers now equipped with ALPR systems. 

"From April to May 14 have processed 18 charges under the Highway Traffic Act and 11 more suspended drivers," explained Warner. 

"Basically from January to May we have got 15 suspended drivers and many of these normally would go undetected." 

Warner believes the technology is a huge benefit to the service. 

"I love it, after 27 years of policing out there trying to see valid tags and trying to read license plates and looking for this type of stuff," he said after Tuesday's police board meeting.  

"This technology does it all for you and it can pick up so many license plates in such a short period of time. You really have to see it to understand what it is doing. It can pick up cars three lanes over, coming at you at 140 kilometres per hour. It is just impressive technology." 

Here's how it works. The ALPR cameras, located at the front of a cruiser, pick up the license plate and run it through the database, 

"That database is uploaded to our server every morning," said Warner.  

"It is a fresh database from the Ministry of Transportation and the Ontario Provincial Police. Any agency that has an active investigation or the MTO that has expired plates, they'll dump their information into this database that is uploaded to our server every morning which is pushed out to the cars so they have the latest information." 

Warner says the new technology holds drivers accountable. 

"This tool is just a trigger for the officers to further investigations. For instance, if I borrow somebody's vehicle and their plate is attached to them and they are a suspended driver, I am probably going to get stopped but then that is up to the officer to do the investigation and see who is driving and get that proper identification right," he said. 

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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