Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson

KVOA TV reports that police in Oro Valley, Arizona have joined the legions of law enforcement agencies using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems. Oro’s taken delivery of LPR Systems’ Mobile Plate Hunter 900 . When the Plate Hunter was rolled out in Utica, NY in August, the ACLU claimed the system violated “every motorist’s civil right to avoid police surveillance unless a law has been violated.” The ACLU’s executive director of the Central New York Chapter says the police need a new business model: “Police really should be in the business of investigating crimes, not tracking law-abiding citizens,” Barrie Gewanter pronounced. “When we are driving and we are always having our licenses plates examined, then everybody on the road is being treated as a suspect.”

Glenn Swanson
Glenn Swanson

Glenn is a baby-boomer, born in 1954. Along with his wife, he makes his home in Connecticut. Employed in the public sector as an Information Tedchnology Specialist, Glenn has long been a car fan. Past rides have included heavy iron such as a 1967 GTO, to a V8 T-Bird. In between those high-horsepower cars, he's owned a pair of BMW 320i's. Now, with a daily commute of 40 miles, his concession to MPG dictates the ownership of a 2006 Honda Civic coupe which, while fun to drive, is a modest car for a pistonhead. As an avid reader, Glenn enjoys TTAC, along with many other auto-realated sites, and the occasional good book. As an avid electronic junkie, Glenn holds an Advanced Class amateur ("ham") radio license, and is into many things electronic. From a satellite radio and portable GPS unit in the cars, to a modest home theater system and radio-intercom in his home, if it's run by the movement of electrons, he's interested. :-)

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4 of 16 comments
  • Blautens Blautens on Oct 05, 2007

    I'm all for scanning plates, running registered owner, and nabbing people with suspended D/Ls and warrants. Hell, it's all I had to do sometimes when I was a young deputy at 2:00 AM with nothing going on. If some automated equipment could do it - why not? Safer for me to drive, and I can keep my eye out for the other things I should really be watching. However, I would strenuously object to keeping a database of all plates scanned by the unit. Keeping track of where people go who have committed no offense is NOT law enforcement - it's far more draconian. I am also under no illusion that any state has a handle on the uninsured driver problem. States should have some way of verifying valid insurance in realtime, much like a DL, and they don't. Licenses that get suspended because of no proof of insurance are done either far too little, too late, or by mistake.

  • 50merc 50merc on Oct 05, 2007

    States could fix the uninsured driver problem but are scared of incurring the wrath of fanatics like the ACLU. One way would be to issue or renew a tag only after proof of insurance is shown, and require return of a license tag before insurance can be cancelled. A high-tech solution would be to require cars to have RFID gizmos issued or activated by insurance companies so roadside devices could check for insured status.

  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on Oct 05, 2007
    require return of a license tag before insurance can be cancelled Just not paying the premium will force it to cancel. In Australia, the state runs the insurance company that provides the minimum required insurance. The insurance provides for medical care for those injured by auto-accidents. Property damage is not covered, so you can buy private insurance to cover that. The premium is paid from the vehicle's registration sticker. You can buy a 6 month or 12 month sticker. In the US, perhaps something similar can be done. Except instead of a state run minimum insurance, the insurance companies in the state must sell insurance with minimum of 6 months pre-paid policies, and give a certificate that allows the holder to get the state registration sticker for the car. In other words, you have always buy a minimum of 6 months of minimum coverage before you can register a car.
  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Oct 05, 2007

    Good point, Blautens. This is a great system as long as they don't keep track of the plates that are not of current interest to them. If someone doesn't belong on the road, the police should have every resource possible to identify and remove them before they have an opportunity to crash into me and run.