Jeff Downer When a police vehicle comes up behind you while driving, have you ever wondered if the officer is checking your license plate number? In Indiana the answer may be both yes and no. Yes, your license plate is being researched – but not by the officer. It is the police car doing the check.
The Indiana State Police have begun using automated license plate readers mounted on some of their patrol cars. The readers record and check all license plate numbers that are encountered. If any issues are detected, the reader will alert the officer and provide a picture of the vehicle of interest.
These plate readers are doing more than just checking driver and vehicle license statuses. They are also tapping into criminal justice databases including ones for warrants and sex offender registries. Having a valid drivers license will not keep one safe from being pulled over if they have a warrant. The officer will be alerted about that as well.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this technology. As it matures and become more widely adopted the scope will become staggering. Imagine a network of every law enforcement vehicle with access to all state’s driving and warrants records and NCIC to boot. The biggest problem could very well be in trying to manage an immense flow of information while out patrolling on the streets.