Massachusetts Police Department Uses Automatic License Plate Reader

ELSAG North America Law Enforcement Systems has found its way to Somerville, Mass., the latest community to be further secured by the Mobile Plate Hunter (MPH-900) automatic license plate reader (ALPR). Both the east and west neighborhood districts are now being patrolled by Somerville police cruisers equipped with leading ALPR technology.

ELSAG North America’s MPH-900 is a cruiser-based system that significantly improves officer safety and productivity while allowing the police department to achieve much better community safety. The system targets motor vehicle related crime and operators who are not properly licensed or who may be wanted in connection with a crime, such as a stolen, unregistered or uninsured vehicle. In addition to creating much greater traffic safety in communities where it is present, the system can also be used to monitor areas identified with drug trafficking, allowing law enforcement agencies to focus on operators who are known to engage in criminal activity.

The system works like this: two cameras are mounted on a police cruiser for routine patrols during a shift. While patrolling, the camera captures images of all surrounding license plates and sends the images of the vehicle and the license plate to the officer’s laptop screen in the cruiser. The computer then searches local, state and federal databases and will send a “hit” to the officer if it identifies a vehicle/operator as stolen, wanted or in violation of the law.

A critical component to the MPH-900 is ease of use. Once the officer logs in, they does not need to do anything until an alarm is sounded. When the alarm sounds, the officer then initiates a further inquiry before taking action.

“ELSAG North America Law Enforcement Systems’ MPH-900 is a robust system and a force multiplier for our department,” said Chief Anthony Holloway. “Two Somerville Police cruisers are equipped with this technology and each can query thousands of registration plates each day, many more than our officers could do by manually inputting the data. Each unit is capable of querying 1,500 plate numbers per hour. The system also allows us to create a ‘hot list’ of vehicles that are being sought in connection with local crimes and will be especially useful in the event of an Amber Alert.”

“We are pleased to be assisting the law enforcement agencies that put everything on the line in order to solve or thwart crime and terrorism,” said Mark Windover, President and CEO of ELSAG North America. “Because over 70 percent of all crimes involve the use of vehicles, the MPH-900 is becoming ever more valuable as a law enforcement aid, preventing criminals or terrorists from falling through the cracks.”

ELSAG North America’s MPH-900 is currently in use by more than 400 agencies in 30 states across the United States. It has many applications and has aided in everything from being used as crucial evidence to convict the murderer of a family in Fishkill, N.Y. to apprehending uninsured vehicles and catching the drivers of vehicles that illegally pass school buses.

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