Running License Plates: Easier Than Ever

By: Denise Wong Email
By: Denise Wong Email

Carson City, NV - The Carson City Sheriff’s Office is getting a new tool it hopes will help keep your family safer. It’s an electronic system that goes into patrol cars that helps deputies quickly run license plates and track down criminals.
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When Deputy Dean Williams drives around and patrols neighborhoods around Carson City, he’s finding his job has become much more efficient in the last week. Because of the automatic license plate reader, installed on the vehicle.

“It scans vehicles all day when we’re driving around,” he says.

Using two cameras mounted on top of the patrol car, it snaps a photo of license plates that Deputy Williams drives by – and it runs them through law enforcement databases.

“With this going on, we can identify violators more quickly,” he says.

Why should you care?

“Its what you put into it that it will look for. So if we typed in sex offenders and went through our system, all we have to do is drive around parks, schools, if there’s a sex offender in the area, it will alarm us and we can look for him and hunt him down,” says Sgt. Darrin Sloan, of the Carson City Sheriff’s Office.

“Makes me feel a lot more safe,” says Keri Lawson, a local mother of four boys.

“I don’t know what parent would not be supportive of it,” she says, “Because to me it just gives it more of a safety measure where we can’t be around the kids all the time. With this, I feel like there’s someone else looking out for my children when I’m not around. So that’s comforting.”

And the high-tech tool is comforting to deputies – who know this gadget will allow them to do much more in less time.

“What this thing can do in an hour it would take a deputy six seven hours to do. As far as looking at and running plates,” says Sgt. Sloan.

For now, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office is just test-driving the system, which costs around $20,000. But it does plan to order one and get it installed in a patrol car, so it can be up and running full-time in the next two months.

Without the Automatic License Plate Reader, deputies have to stop and type in each license plate number automatically. Deputy Williams says, between doing other things in his patrol car, that means he usually can only run about 20 to 60 license plates each day. With this reader, he can run about 150 license plates in 40 minutes – which frees him up to do other things like respond to more calls.

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office has two patrol cars outfitted with the system; NHP also has two patrol cars with the reader.


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