Automatic License Plate Readers: Locating Vehicles Involved in AMBER Alerts

Posted on December 29, 2016 By Major Police Supply admin


The electronic boards extending over our nation’s interstate system, highways and byways often project U.S. Department of Justice-issued AMBER Alerts, including license plates associated with suspect vehicles involved in child abductions. Traditionally, police officers patrol and pay attention to details listed in BOLOs issued by Patrol sergeants or other ranking superior in pre-shift Roll Calls.

Modern Technology versus Outmoded Methods

License plate recognition camera technology enables a patrol officer to do far more than scrutinize license plate by license plate, the old-fashioned way: verbally conveying the plate to a dispatcher and awaiting a response or, while driving, manually typing the license plate into an in-car laptop.

ALPRs, conveniently attached to the police cruiser’s exterior and not encroaching upon any interior compartment space, are nifty modern marvels. ALPRs scan thousands of license plates in milliseconds, analyze the law enforcement databases for “vehicles of interest,” and produce real-time “Hits” signifying a certain vehicle is suspect for one reason or another. No need for old-fashioned, outmoded methods.

Using infrared technology, ALPRs are effective day or night. A child abduction suspect motoring along under cover of darkness has his perceived stealth cancelled-out by the ALPRs capacity to read license plates in darkness.

License Plate Reader

Progressive Policing

AMBER Alert-associated vehicles are targeted in real-time. Incorporating police tactics, vehicle stops are conducted and children are recovered safely. Bad guy — 0, Police — 1, exponentially for the latter. Just imagine the decrease in missing children/increase in recovered missing children, and tally of suspects arrested for crimes against children…thanks to ALPR devices attached to every police cruiser in our nation! It is fathomable.

AMBER Alerts have provisions which extend across state lines and with nationwide scope. No matter where your law enforcement agency may be, the commuting nature of child abductors justifies having ALPRs in-place, Anywhere USA.

Logistics and Portable Design

The ALPR engineering specs allow for portability of each unit, meaning the ALPR can be easily transplanted to any other police cruiser and used throughout every 24-hour cycle. Take-home cars pose no issue; it simply takes scant minutes to remove the ALPR from a cruiser at end-of-shift, and set-up on the next shift’s patrol car.

Invaluable Tool

As former federal prosecutor and ALPR-use proponent, Hemanshu Nigam, intimated in a 2013 Huffington Post article: “…would we have a defendable reason to give to a mother of an abducted child whose child could be recovered using LPR if we chose not to use such a life-saving technology?”

If any police technology is to be considered invaluable, perhaps the Automatic License Plate Reader is pure pioneering genius.

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