License plate recognition cameras net results - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

License plate recognition cameras net results

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KENNER, La. - In Kenner's 911 center, dispatchers aren't just answering calls, they're watching for a hit from one of the city's 27 license plate recognition cameras.

"When a vehicle passes, an alarm will sound from this console," said Deputy Chief Michael Glaser.

At $14,000 apiece, the city's first few cameras came on-line in 2006 with a combination of federal and state grant money.

"We placed them strategically in the city where we thought we'd have best results," Glaser said.

Since then, Kenner Police said they've continued to add more.

"Personally, I think this is one of the best advancements in law enforcement in recent years," Glaser said.

The cameras produce multiple hits a day in Kenner alone. Each hit means that license plate is registered in the National Crime Information Center's data base, where law enforcement agencies from around the country compile an index of criminal information.

It can be for fugitives, stolen property and missing persons.

Once there's a hit on one of the cameras, an officer is immediately dispatched to the location. At the same time, a dispatcher in the 911 call center is making sure the hit is legitimate.

"We don't just stop a vehicle and put somebody in handcuffs," said Police Chief Steve Caraway. "We have to verify that the vehicle is stolen."

Most hits are correct.

Last Friday, police were alerted to a stolen car that had passed by one of the cameras. Within 10 minutes, Caraway said officers had located the vehicle.

"It's been very successful," Caraway said. "We've also solved murders in the past as a result of these."

In Jefferson Parish, there are 94 cameras in fixed locations and 11 more in police units.

The NOPD has six mobile cameras, all of them programmed to search for hits that allow law enforcement agencies around the nation to help catch criminals.

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