Huntsville police testing license plate reader on Memorial Parkway

The department plans to install the readers throughout the city.

Posted: Jul 29, 2019 6:16 PM

Huntsville police are testing some technology that can fight crime by reading license plates. It's also planned to help with traffic flow.

Tyler King lives in Huntsville and said he hadn't heard about the license plate reader being tested on Memorial Parkway.

"I actually think that is really interesting. It shows where technology is going. I actually think it's pretty cool because like if you did get your car stolen, they might be able to catch it a lot faster," he said.

Huntsville police said once purchased, the readers will be placed throughout the city and can run any license plate that passes by. The information it collects can be used to detect stolen cars or a wanted person with the information being fed back to police. Police said the city can also use the data to keep track of how many cars are traveling its busiest roads.

"That definitely helps catch a lot more criminals that could be getting away with things," he said.

Huntsville police plan for these readers to be part of the North Alabama Multi-Agency Crime Center. WAAY 31 has told you about the center for more than a year, Now, part of it has finally opened.

The center has state-of-the-art technology that helps investigators analyze phones and sift through data on social media.

"Right now, we are just testing the efficiency of its data gathering capabilities. There are other crime centers throughout Alabama. This will be connected to them as well," Johnson said.

Police said the readers purchased will receive data from agencies throughout the state.

King said he thinks they'll help catch any criminals who try to pass through the city.

"I think there are going to be a lot of naysayers, but I think it depends on the person that's using it. All it is is reading your license plate, so it's like if you're trying to avoid the law, than that's kind of on you," King said.

Huntsville police said once the department figures out what plate reader it wants to purchase, they'll be installed on major roads that take drivers in and out of the city. However, their placements won't be announced to the public.

The North Alabama Multi-Agency Crime Center is already up and running. Police said the current technology helped solve 63 cases in the first quarter of the year. Police said an employee of the FBI also plans to join their team inside the center. In the future, the department will also purchase gunshot detectors.

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