By years end, the Menomonee Falls Police Department could join the ranks of next-generation law enforcement.
By the end of the year, Menomonee Falls Police Capt. Mark Waters said they hope to have one squad car equipped with an “automated license plate recognition system” – or license reader, for short.
Using high-tech cameras mounted on their roofs, officers driving cars with license readers can receive instant alerts to every car they pass that has been entered in the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles database within the past 24 hours or before.
License readers, manufactured by Federal Signal, scan at rates in the thousands per minute and can read a plate at a combined speed of 160 mph – for instance, a squad car and an approaching car each traveling at 80 mph. Officers can receive instant notification of stolen vehicles, or if your registration is expired.
Techology can also geo-tag and time stamp each instance a license is read, which can help reveal habitual behavior or track a vehicle that was used in a crime.
Waters said Falls will join consortium of other departments, which is headed by the Greenfield Police Department. The current software and technology is incredibly expensive at this point, and joining a consortium helps keep costs of the program down.
Equipping squads with the camera that reads plates can cost up to $10,000 per vehicle. Jurisdictions throughout southeast Wisconsin would then share in a joint alert systems, which could go statewide at some point.