The cameras capture license plate numbers at high speeds so officers can immediately find out if a vehicle is stolen or is connected to a crime.
The technology is new is southeast Missouri.
Members of the Boone County Sheriffâ??s Department and the Columbia Police Department first started using license plate readers in June 2009. Since that time, they have received very few complaints about the cameras and have seen much success.
Boone County Sheriff Sgt. Brian Leer said, â??We donâ??t see that as a whole. Overall, I think the public is supportive of it. There are a few out there that you will hear raise questions about privacy. They want to know if big brother is watching everyone. Once they realize what the system actually does, usually those fears go away.â??
The mounted cameras automatically take pictures of license plates using infrared technology. The device automatically displays a license plate of interest by using a criminal database. Boone County deputies and Columbia police officers have both found stolen vehicles and solved other crimes by using license plate readers. The infrared technology works both day and night.
Leer said, â??Itâ??s amazing sometimes how well they will pick up passing cars. You can meet a car at 60 or 70 miles an hour while going opposite directions and it will read the plate whether itâ??s daytime or nighttime.â??
Boone County sheriffâ??s deputies have four license plate readers mounted on patrol cars that are in operation during different shifts every day of the week.