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On June 4, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department unveiled a new “automatic license plate reader car” that will be based out of the department’s Valley Center substation.

“This car has the ability to read several hundred license plates a minute on the move, whether you’re going 80 miles an hour or 8 miles an hour,” said Sgt. Robert Niderost, who wrote the grant request that resulted in the acquisition of funds for the car’s purchase. Four cameras mounted under the light bars on the car’s roof aim to the front and sides of the vehicle, picking up oncoming vehicles as well as those it passes.

Images captured by the cameras are stored up to six months, explained Lt. Michael McClain, head of the Valley Center substation.

Funding for the $78,000 Dodge Charger came from the Barona Band of Mission Indians, Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Nation, and the Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit Committee.

While the department has several other cars outfitted with the same technology (a department spokesperson declined to disclose how many or where they are operated), the Valley Center cruiser is the first that will operate primarily in rural areas, including near local casinos.

“Our goal is to make our casino patrons as well as tribal members and other community members of the Valley Center and Pauma Valley area safer by providing a more proactive law-enforcement technique,” said Niderost.

The initial purpose of the car will be to identify stolen vehicles or those driven by crime suspects, but that could expand as more patrol vehicles are equipped with the technology.

“For example, with sex offenders, we could use this system to help us identify people who have registered certain vehicles that are not supposed to be near schools,” offered McClain.

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Comments

Visduh June 5, 2012 @ 11:21 a.m.

Big Brother is watching you, and you, and you and . . .

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Barbarella Fokos June 5, 2012 @ 1:39 p.m.

My understanding is that meter maids (I mean parking enforcement officers) already have this technology - as they drive by, machine tracks and clocks license plates so when they drive by again, it automatically reports if the same care has been in the same place for longer than the legal limit. I'll look for verification.

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Visduh June 19, 2012 @ 4:14 p.m.

That would be quite clever. Parking tickets are quite lucrative for the city I'd suppose, and making it easier and more fool-proof would increase revenue and keep the "maids" out of harm's way. (Forgive me for using fool-proof and the city in the same sentence.)

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Javajoe25 June 6, 2012 @ 11:49 a.m.

Indian tribes fund law enforcement? Sounds like the Lone Ranger and Tonto are back together again. Wonder how the tribes will feel when the drones fly over the reservation?

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Ruth Newell July 6, 2012 @ 5:28 p.m.

I'm not sure what you mean by drones flying over tribal land but there are many reservations whose airspace IS legally classified as a flight free zone. For spiritual and cultural preservation purposes.

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cllj July 6, 2012 @ 3:35 p.m.

Do we have jurisdiction on trible land?

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Ruth Newell July 6, 2012 @ 5:25 p.m.

We? Non tribal law enforcement entities, do you mean? No, not usually as tribes are sovereign nations. But anything can be modified with an MOU and multi-jurisdictional partnerships do occur on reservations across the county. Not all casinos, however, are officially on tribal land.

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J3rrYcid Oct. 28, 2012 @ 7:38 p.m.

Using cutting edge technology like this is one way that law enforcement can hope to cope with crime with limited man power. I am very interested in knowing how the cameras work, and why it can detect the car plate numbers so quickly. Is it really as good as it is made out to be? http://www.carid.com

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 28, 2012 @ 8:22 p.m.

It is a COMPUTER, it runs the plates like a Google search searches the internet-in miliseconds, the Temecula and San Clemente check pionts have had these camers (and video) for years now....................not "new" technology by any means.

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RobertWhite July 29, 2013 @ 6:52 a.m.

A reason for rejoice for the people of San Diego Sheriff's for the invention. Indeed its quite commendable that now cars will able to detect stolen vehicle and crime suspects. Splendidly and superbly designed technology which can read and record hundreds of licensed number plates in one minute in one go. These are first of its kind of automatic license plate reader cars which have been invented so far. Long way to go technology ! Totally liked this article. link text

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