Clovis police department using upgraded license plate scanner system to help catch car thieves

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If you?ve driven through Clovis lately, you may have noticed two cameras hanging over one of the busiest intersections. (KFSN)

The Clovis Police Department is embracing technology to fight crimes. Fifteen officers are wearing brand new body cameras and a license plate recognition system is being used to scan license plates.

If you've driven through Clovis lately, you may have noticed two cameras hanging over one of the busiest intersections.

Sgt. Jim Munro said, "everything we are capturing is on a public roadway, in public view."

Munro said, for the past 60 days, the police department has been using them to scan license plates. They take snapshots and run the numbers through a state database to find everything from stolen cars to vehicles involved in violent crimes.

"If they find a match, it instantaneously gives us an alert," Munro added.

It's called License Plate Recognition, which is technology Clovis PD has actually had for years. The department started with a more expensive, mobile system - cameras attached to the trunks of two patrol cars. The problem, Munro said, it's only effective when the cars are on the street.

Munro said, "you get more bang for your buck, putting them at a fixed location because they're running 24/7, 365."

At the same time, officers are also gearing up to press record. Fifteen of them have been issued body cameras through a $250,000 grant and more could be coming soon.

Lt. Dan Sullivan said, "the trend seems to be moving toward this," he added, "if we don't try now, get in on it now, we'll be behind the curve so to speak when the technology comes down where it's mandated that we all wear them."

As for the cameras hanging over that busy intersection. Sgt. Munro said both are worth $15,000 to $20,000 each, they were also purchased through grants and have already helped officers stop two stolen cars.

The plan is to cover more intersections but it'll take time. Munro also added, the LPR system only captures the rear license plates of vehicles and it does not capture the faces of drivers.
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