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Sheriff's Patrol Cars Now Have Eyes Of Their Own

New technology automatically scans license plates as patrol
cars drive.

Image
Picture courtesy of the Santa Clarita Sheriff's station.

A select number of Santa Clarita Sheriff’s patrol cars have
a few added features that are changing the way bad guys are caught.

 

Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) technology is now
making it possible for these patrol cars to scan license plates of passing
vehicles while driving around town.  

 

The system consists of several mounted cameras on the patrol
car, which can analyze and run over 1,000 license plates per hour.

 

 

“We are excited about the success of this new technology now
being used by our Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station to help protect our
community,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar.  “As we have always done,
we will continue to look at and evaluate new technology and systems that will
assist our deputies and first responders in keeping the City of Santa
Clarita a safe place to live, work, and play,” he
added.   

 

The new safety features come after the City Council
authorized funds for two of the specialized vehicles to be purchased. The
Sheriff’s Department reports that since the vehicles were commissioned in
December 2007, over 500,000 license plates have been scanned, resulting in the
recovery of 25 stolen vehicles, and assisting in criminal cases.

   

 

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Four of those cases were outlined in Sheriff’s documentation;

 

  • On Tuesday, January
    8, 2008,
    a gang-related drive-by shooting occurred on Deeptree
    Avenue near Lone Rock
    Street, Canyon Country.  Through additional
    investigation and follow-up, detectives were able to identify a potential
    suspect vehicle and license plate number.  Utilizing the ALPR system,
    detectives were able to obtain additional identifying information about the
    vehicle.  The information obtained led to the service of several search
    warrants throughout the Santa Clarita Valley and other areas of Southern
    California, ultimately resulting in the arrest of the drive-by
    shooting suspects and the recovery of evidence directly related to the crime.

 

  • On Monday, May 19,
    2008
    , a Victorville man was driving recklessly in the area of Lyons
    Avenue and Wiley Canyon
    Road, Newhall.  It was later determined that
    the man was reportedly fleeing from California Highway Patrol Officers just
    prior to being spotted by Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff patrol deputies. 
    The deputies were unable to get license plate number of the suspect’s vehicle
    because of the distance, and the suspect’s reckless aggressive driving, but the
    ALPR System was able to process the plate.  Deputies reviewed the license
    plate, conducted a follow-up investigation and later arrested the man for
    evading a peace officer and reckless driving.

 

  • On Sunday, June 22,
    2008,
    an assault and hate crime incident occurred near Soledad
    Canyon Road and Sierra
    Highway.  One of the witnesses managed to get
    a license plate number, but it turned out to be the wrong number and did not
    return to a vehicle.  Through the use of the ALPR System, deputies were
    able to check the different license plate number combinations and ultimately
    identify the vehicle and its owner.  The suspect was later arrested.

 

  • On Wednesday,
    September 10, 2008
    , deputies patrolling in an ALPR equipped patrol
    car in the area of Delight Street,
    Canyon Country received an automated license plate alert indicating a stolen
    vehicle.  Deputies located the car and detained a man who attempted to
    walk away from it when he saw the deputies.  During the traffic stop and
    investigation, deputies spotted another vehicle driving by that was associated
    with the vehicle theft.  Additional responding deputies stopped that car,
    but not before one of the occupants got out and walked away from the vehicle,
    attempting to conceal a backpack he was carrying in the bushes near Tambora
    Drive and Delight Street. 
    Inside the backpack deputies recovered check books and financial documents
    belonging to another person that had been stolen in a residential burglary in
    the Santa Clarita Valley.  They also found a mobile GPS system and wire
    cutters.  When the field investigation had concluded, the deputies had
    searched two vehicles and a house, arrested four suspects, and recovered
    methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, forged checks, marijuana plants, burglary
    tools, and the stolen vehicle.  They also recovered several items they
    believe to be stolen in residential and vehicle burglaries in Santa Clarita
    including two purses, several cell phones, three X-Box video games, a Sony
    Playstation gaming system, music CDs, and a car stereo.

 

“It is this type of technology that helps us maintain an
edge in apprehending those who are intent on victimizing the hard working
people of our community,” said Captain La Berge of the Santa Clarita Valley
Sheriff’s Station.  “We are so grateful that the City of Santa Clarita
recognizes the importance of pursuing this type of new technology to help us
put these criminals behind bars and keep our neighborhoods safe!  These
Automated License Plate Readers help improve our efficiency, and productivity,
aiding us in our very proactive approach to law enforcement and thorough
complete investigations,” he concluded.