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City police add licence plate scanner to crime arsenal

Published on

Troy Shantz

Sarnia Police are getting a new piece of scanner technology that can read vehicle licence plates and identify their owners and legal status almost instantly.

Chief Norm Hansen said the scanner uses facial recognition technology but on licence plates and will be mounted on a police cruiser.

Police Chief Norm Hansen

The system features three cruiser-mounted cameras that can scan and capture a 360-degree image.

Licences in the field of view are quickly searched in a database and a notification appears on the officer’s dashboard mounted laptop when an expired or suspended licence or arrest warrant is found.

“It’s a fairly new piece of equipment. We’re always looking for new equipment that we can increase our efficiency with,” Hansen said.

“It also is an intelligence gathering tool. It goes into the system that that plate was run in Sarnia, so we may be able to connect it to other cities.”

The unit, covered by a $37,537 Provincial Civil Remedies Grant, will be used to combat human trafficking activity. The money is also buying a pair of portable security cameras that can be set-up temporarily wherever suspicious activity occurs, the chief said.

“Human trafficking investigations are very difficult so it’s nice for us to have a machine that helps us with intelligence gathering,” he said.

Hansen said two Sarnia detectives have received special training on human trafficking investigations, and several arrests have been made in the past two years. The city also works with the province’s human trafficking task force, he added.

“I wouldn’t say Sarnia is a hotbed for human trafficking, but we have certainly had a few investigations here. Being a border city and on the highway 402- 401 corridor, we are aware of the problem,” he said.



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