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Village launches automated license plate readers

New technology will help reduce crime and enhance officer safety

MACHESNEY PARK, IL (August 10, 2017) – Locating persons of interest, stolen vehicles, or wanted criminals is a challenging task for public safety professionals. The Machesney Park division of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department is now employing the use of new technology through an automated license plate recognition system to assist officers in locating vehicles of interest, developing investigative leads, and solving cases.

License plate readers contain integrated processors that rapidly process license plate images using optical character recognition that is cross-referenced to a national license plate database. The Village has installed license plate readers on two of its squad cars, and plans to expand the use of the system in the future, based upon its success. “With the use of the license plate recognition software on our vehicles, our officers will be notified if a particular vehicle is stolen, or if the license plates have been suspended or if the registered owner has a suspended driver’s license,” said Lieutenant Doug Bushman, of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, which contracts law enforcement services to the Village. Cameras on squad cars will only be capturing license plate data, but license plates can help the Sheriff’s Department to identify suspicious vehicles as well as taking records of every vehicle that is in the vicinity of a crime scene upon arrival.

The Village of Machesney Park, along with Rockford, Loves Park, and hundreds of municipalities throughout the country are utilizing the license plate recognition system that was purchased from Vigilant Solutions, a technology company that specializes in law enforcement. The Village’s investment in the equipment, software and license fees for two vehicles was $41,000, which covers the purchase of the equipment, software, data access and storage for two years. “This is a great tool to enhance officer safety and productivity and we’re looking forward to using it,” said Lieutenant Bushman.


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