Troopers To Test License-Plate Scanners On Turnpike
Ohio State troopers are planning a four-month test of optical scanners that the vendor claims can accurately read license plates on moving vehicles. The state Controlling Board released $61,000 in federal grant money for the test program, after which the State Highway Patrol will report to the state legislature.
Some lawmakers and civil liberties groups have expressed concern over the system, which they say could be abused and allow tracking of innocent citizens. Capt. John Born of the highway patrol said those fears were unfounded because queries would be immediately checked against the National Crime Information Center database and then deleted; storing the data would be technically unworkable given the current infrastructure.
The test program will involve scanning devices from the Italian company Elsag set up at two highway entry gates, and two mobile scanning devices to be used in troopers’ cruisers. Troopers would be required to visually verify the license plate number before pulling the suspect vehicle over.
Ohio Highway Patrol last year recovered 855 stolen vehicles, but superintendent Col. Paul McClellan said the system could also aid in preventing more serious criminal activity such as the I-270 sniper shootings.
Despite the current criticism, McClellan said the Highway Patrol would face even more controversy if it did not explore every legal technology that could aid law enforcement.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from theColumbus Dispatch (06/08/04) P. 5B; Niquette, Mark .