Imperial County police departments implement new technology

A line up of Imperial County Sheriff’s vehicles. Photo from Google images.

EL CENTRO – Several police departments throughout Imperial County are moving to adopt the Imperial County Regional License Plate Recognition (ALPR) Program to aid in the reduction of criminal activity within the County.

ALPR is an integrated camera and processor that can be mounted on patrol vehicles. The program can scan and take photos of license plates, convert photos into text files, and cross reference the information with a data base of license plates that are associated with criminal activity.

Despite the capabilities of the program, citizens’ rights to privacy will not be violated, according to the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office. ALPR will not be used for minor violations such as infractions, expired plates, or expired registration.

Lt. Jimmy Duran said, “We’re not going to be using the license plate readers for infractions. It’s purpose is to aid in suspected criminal activity.”

According to Duran, the intent of the technology is to aid in locating homicide suspects, sex offenders, missing persons, amber alerts, narcotics, and fugitives.

“This is a unique way of identifying some of these perpetrators that we’re already looking for,” Duran said.

The new program has the ability to take geotag photos, increase communication capabilities, and aid in seizing personnel involved in criminal activity.

“This system is going to link us to the rest of the nation,” said Duran.

The ALPR program will be used in almost 50 police car units throughout the county. The program can run more than 14,000 license plates in just one shift and can read plates on cars driving faster than 160 miles per hour, officials said.

Duran claimed the new technology will help the police departments in Imperial County and have a positive impact on the community.

“This technology has been around since the early 2000s,” he said. “It’s not new technology. It’s proven technology, but it’s technology that’s barely going to be implemented in Imperial County. This is something that is definitely going to impact our community in a positive manner.”