Sep 26, 2011 9:56 PM by Kathy Kuretich

Arroyo Grande Police have a new way to catch criminals

Arroyo Grande Police are not making it easy for criminals to get away with stealing cars.
Monday, they showcased their new license plate readers, now installed in five of their ten patrol cars.
The (LPR) system uses cameras on the inside and outside of patrol cars to quickly scan license plates.
It can read plates on moving or parked cars.
Instead of calling the plate into dispatch... a computer system notifies officers when the vehicles plate comes back wanted or stolen.
Installed just a few days ago and the LPR system is already getting results. Saturday, Arroyo Grande Police arrested two transients in the WalMart parking lot. Heather Dawn Deweese and Jonathan Henry Daugherty, were arrested for being in possession of a stolen car and multiple drug offenses.
"The officer didn't walk up on the vehicle, surprised, she was able to call for back-up," said Commander Chuck Gerhart.
He gave us a first-hand look of the new technology which he said benefits both officers and the public.
"We are able to recover or locate stolen vehicles in a more expeditious manner than we would normally do," he said.
The system includes three cameras, one for video, and two others to capture a still image of a license plate.
Instead of calling in a plate to dispatch, cars on the road and entire parking lots, can be scanned in minutes.
"We're moving at 25 mph right now and it's picking up these plates," Commander Gerhart said.
If the plate is suspicious, the computer sounds an alarm, warning officers to take a closer look.
"We wouldn't normally be going through like shopping centers and running each and every plate that's there," said Commander Gerhart.
He said Arroyo Grande Police have just upped their odds, considerably at nabbing criminals in stolen cars.
The total cost of the system is $270-thousand dollars.
Commander Gerhart said it was paid for using the State's Cop Grant funds.
He said no city money was used.



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