Implementing License Plate Readers




Rangel, Saul

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


As technology continues to advance and be used to commit sophisticated crimes, law enforcement agencies are increasingly using technology tools to combat crimes, one of which is Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPR). ALPRs were initially used in the United Kingdom in the 1990s as part of a comprehensive network of counterterrorism surveillance assets (Gierlack, 2014). The technology then migrated to the United States, with the United States Border Patrol first using ALPRs at border crossings in 1998 (Gierlack, 2014). In 2004, law enforcement agencies in the U.S. began to use ALPRs (Lum et al., 2019). ALPRs have integrated infrared illuminators, allowing them to read plates at night and during the day (Zimmer, 2019). Due to advances in technology, ALPRs can now do more than just read license plates. ALPRs can read the vehicles make, model, and color (Zimmer 2019). Accuracy in ALPR readings has increased from 80-90 percent to 99 percent accuracy (Zimmer, 2019). With such a high accuracy rate, ALPRs are an effective tool for law enforcement. ALPRs can do more than just read plates. ALPRs are an effective tool that assist investigators with criminal investigations. The use of ALPRs also serves as a force multiplier and increases an officer’s efficiency. Law enforcement agencies should implement the use of ALPRs.



Police Patrol Data Processing, Police--Equipment and Supplies, Law Enforcement--Technological Innovations