OPP using new high tech tool to nab illegal drivers
Published Wednesday, March 11, 2015 6:32PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, March 13, 2015 1:51PM EDT
It takes a picture a second. In rush hour, that means up to 3600 license plates being scanned an hour.
"It's called automated license plate recognition software," says Cst. Shaun Peever of the Ontario Provincial Police. "The car is equipped with two cameras on the roof, on forward facing, one rear facing, to capture license plates of passing vehicles."
OPP in eastern Ontario have been testing the software for a couple of years, but it's recently been implemented. It's the first police force to use it in the province.
"The camera will take a snapshot of each license plate and then run that through the hot list in the database," explains Cst. John Armit.
The OPP use two databases: the Canadian Police Information Centre and the Ministry of Transportation. If there's an issue with a license plate, an alert sounds on the officer's computer.
"Their license has been suspended for Criminal Code convictions such as impaired driving or provincial offences such as excess demerit points, unpaid fines or for medical reasons," says Peever.
The software also instantly checks if the plates are expired or if they belong to a stolen vehicle.
In Pembroke on Wednesday, an alert came up for an expired license plate. After OPP pulled the driver over, they discovered it was more than just that.
"The permit attached to that vehicle is in fact expired, and furthermore, the driver is a suspended driver, ordered by the courts," says Armit.
Officers have to confirm the license plate is correct when they get a hit. On occasion, they also have to verify the driver of the vehicle matches the suspension alert that comes up.
When officers do get a hit, the software automatically generates a report that includes what the offence is, what action the officer took and their GPS coordinates. If they need to, officers can use the report in court.