Police officers in Wichita Falls Texas added the police force to the growing list of Texas city and county law enforcement agencies employing automatic license plate reader scanning technology.
These license plate scanning systems are used to identify automobiles that have been flagged as stolen. The same systems are also commonly used to track down drivers who may have suspended driver’s licenses, or outstanding criminal arrest warrants. They can be used for any vehicle identification purpose, from parking tickets or tax payment violations, or any driver issues when matched with DMV records nationwide.
These systems take an image capture of all license tags within range of a police vehicle equipped with this system. License plates are scanned on the fly in real time and matched with a database of vehicles with any of these known issues. The police officer in the vehicle is instantly alerted, and stops to identify the vehicle and investigate the situation.
Scanners can identify many hundreds of vehicles per hours, and thousands in a police officer’s shift.
Recent news reports have cited the use of these systems in Dallas county, and additional police and sheriff’s departments in Texas are adding them all the time.
One significant concern many citizens have about this invasive surveillance process, is how protected is the data saved? Every plate scanned is stored and logged via it’s GPS-derived location. Our nation’s law enforcement infrastructure is amassing a vast database of the movements of ordinary citizens who have done absolutely nothing wrong.
As these technologies undoubtedly become cheaper to deploy, it won’t be far off in the future when they are standard equipment on all police vehicles. And nationwide data sharing will only increase.
If you have been tracked and identified by a license plate scanner in Texas resulting in a criminal offense, and are in need of an attorney, contact us today for a criminal defense legal consultation.