Ever wonder what the odd looking device was on the roof of some of our patrol units? In 2008, the Arcadia Police Department began using a new tool in combating crimes and "wants" associated with vehicles. The Department initially purchased four, mobile based, automated license plate reader (ALPR) systems that are installed on patrol units. The system is manufactured by Federal Signal/PIPS Technology and is currently in use in many other agencies.
Simply speaking, cameras on the police unit read license plates on vehicles and then compare the plates read to those listed on a computer database. The vehicle and plate are also photographed. If there is a “hit” on the plate, such as a felony want or stolen vehicle, the PIPS system alerts the Officer who can then take action. If there is no hit, the vehicle information is stored in the database. The cameras work in daylight and darkness as they are equipped with infrared (IR) readers as well.
In addition to the use of this technology for recovering stolen vehicles and reducing auto theft, the system can be used to recover vehicles with excessive parking violations and as an investigative database as well. Investigators can conduct many different searches for suspect vehicles by use of the information collected by the PIPS system.
This is a great tool and has a positive impact our ability to investigate all crimes involving use of a vehicle,quickly and more efficiently.