Police officers in Mesa, AZ are among the latest law enforcement agencies to test the deployment of automatic license plate scanners to detect stolen cars, and other vehicles and drivers with legal issues. The system they are using is called the mobile plate hunter.
These license plate scanners automatically photograph, store & track location via GPS, and identify hundreds of vehicles per hour. The plate numbers are scanned and instantly matched against a database of vehicles. If any hits come up, the officer in the vehicle is immediately notified, and the car is stopped, or towed, and the driver arrested.
According to reports, there are more than 1000 of these license plate scanners deployed in police vehicles, nationwide. Arizona law enforcement agencies known to be currently using these systems include Mesa police, the state Department of Public Safety, the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the Oro Valley Police. They cost about $25,000 per unit, but no doubt that price will continue to drop rapidly as the technology becomes cheaper, and more widespread.
It won’t be long before these systems are standard equipment in all police cruisers, and very possibly other law enforcement and state vehicles. And the history of your plate being scanned can be stored indefinitely. Even if you have done nothing wrong, that data exists, and can be accessed in the future to log your past locations.
The larger implications these systems being in the field is that it will be increasing difficult to get away with driving on a suspended license, or if you have an outstanding arrest warrant for failure to appear. It is simple for law enforcement agencies nationwide to share data on drivers and their license plates.
If you are facing any criminal charge in Arizona, please contact our attorneys and take advantage of your free consultation. There is no obligation, and the evaluation is complete confidential.