The Yakima Police Department will be getting new technology on eight of their police cruisers. Now they'll be able to quickly take snap shots of people's license plates and be able to identify if its a stolen vehicle.
"The system will notify the officer immediately if it encounters a stolen license plate," said Yakima Police Captain Greg Copeland
Yakima city council pushed through the resolution for the city to purchase the Vigilant Solutions Mobile License Plate Recognition Systems
"What it is, is a system for each of the eight cars it will go on. It has four cameras per car, kind of pointed forward and back at angles," said Copeland.
The positioning of the cameras allows officers to identify license plates from oncoming traffic, parked cars and vehicles on side streets. The new system will allow police to search for stolen vehicles without having to hand check license numbers.
"If there's maybe ten or twelve autos on an officers hot sheet rather then having to remember each and every plate the officer can more rely on this system," Copeland explained.
Although the main goal for the equipment is to find stolen cars, the cameras can help spot criminals as well.
"If we have a homicide suspect that we know is in a particular vehicle with a particular license plate we can enter that information in the system and the system will notify the officer of that vehicle's presence in the same way it would with a stolen vehicle," said Copeland.
Yakima currently ranks 19th in the nation for car thefts according to a recent report. The city ranked outside the top ten for the first time in seven years. Captain Copeland believes this technology should help the city's ranking drop even more.
"We're not exactly making a guarantee that it will totally solve the problem but we think its another step in the right direction that will help us towards the ultimate goal of reducing the number of auto thefts that we have," said Copeland.
The systems are expected within a few months.
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