Middlesex County Purchases Automated License Plate Readers For Law Enforcement

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MIDDLESEX COUNTY — Middlesex County has purchased and is distributing to police departments throughout the county Automated License Plate Recognition Systems (ALPR’s), which are intended enhance a wide array of law enforcement activities.

The units, purchased with federal Homeland Security Grant Funds, can be used to support law enforcement operations and activities, including protecting critical infrastructure, criminal and terrorist suspect interdiction, stolen vehicle recovery and apprehension of individuals who are subject to an outstanding arrest warrant.

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“This sophisticated technology will boost the safety and security of our residents and businesses,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Ronald G. Rios, chair of the county’s Law and Public Safety Committee. “The purchase and distribution of these units are consistent with our past efforts to use federal grant dollars to equip our law enforcement personnel with the most effective and up-to-date tools to enhance our security efforts here.”

The ALPR’s, mounted to the roof or on the trunk of a patrol car, automatically read license plates as the police vehicle is on patrol. The readers then compare the registration information against various databases. The system automatically alerts officers if the information obtained requires law enforcement action. The information also is stored in the server for future crime analysis and criminal investigations.

“I wish to recognize the New Jersey State Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness for its vision in approving the use of ALPR’s to help us protect our critical infrastructure and further enhance the security of our citizens,” said Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan.

Kaplan said the units will be given to municipalities that have critical infrastructure to protect because they can provide another layer of protection for these areas, he said.

“This initiative is another example of the County and our municipalities working together to benefit all our residents,” said Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano. “These partnerships have led to effective law enforcement initiatives and a safer Middlesex County.”

Within the first month of use, the units scanned 376,877 license plates. Some 6,559 of these scans found information that required police action, including finding stolen cars and cars that were taken without owner consent. In one instance, an unregistered vehicle was found. The stop led to a narcotics arrest and the recovery of two fictitious identification cards.

Middlesex County Freeholder Deputy Director Ronald G. Rios (left) and Chief Robert J. Travisano of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office are shown how the new Automated License Plate Reader System operates. The readers, seen on the roof of this patrol car, will enhance homeland security and other law enforcement responsibilities. (Photo courtesy of Middlesex County)


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