Kansas City police board members on Tuesday approved the purchase of seven automatic license plate readers, doubling the department’s ability to scan vehicles.
The department plans to test the new devices, which combine a license plate reader with an in-car video camera system and a mobile data computer. Currently, the department has seven devices that use separate systems for readers, cameras and computers. The new combined systems would save space inside new patrol cars, which are expected to be smaller than Ford Crown Victoria police cars, which were recently discontinued. The department is testing five kinds of vehicles to replace the Crown Victorias.
The total cost for the new devices is $155,400. Board members on Tuesday also agreed to buy 13 combined camera and computer systems to test inside patrol cars for $116,025 as police officials research options to upgrade technology.
The automatic license plate readers can quickly scan hundreds of vehicles as patrol cars cruise around the city. The plate numbers are checked against a list of stolen vehicles and vehicles associated with outstanding warrants or Amber Alerts. The readers alert officers to any hits. All license plate data are stored, regardless of whether the system finds a hit. In two years of use, the department’s current readers collected more than 7 million license plate numbers, along vehicle descriptions and locations.