NJ Sheriff Tests Latest High-Tech Gadget: Plate-Scanning Camera


Two sheriff’s patrol cars in Passaic County, N.J., are equipped with the latest high-tech police gadget: rooftop cameras that automatically scan as many as 500 license plates per minute by taking a picture of the vehicle and the tag, then feeding the information to computer mounted on the front seat, reports the Bergen Record. An alarm sounds if the tag is expired or its owner is wanted by authorities.

Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale said his department bought the cars and the technology, known as PIPS (short for Pearpoint Image Processing Systems), for about $86,000. The cars were bought with proceeds from drug seizures by his department and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. Bergen County is testing the technology and will decide whether to keep it based on its effectiveness, officials said. Sgt. Michael Hoeft, a sheriff’s officer who patrolled in a PIPS car recently, said the cameras had scanned 3,412 vehicles on his shift, resulting in 35 alarm “hits.”

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