Watch out, drivers. Ontario police now have the ability to scan hundreds of license plates within minutes of road patrol, thanks to their newly-expanded Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology.
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Sgt. Kerry Schmidt posted a video on Twitter earlier this week saying that the technology is now “rolling out across the province.”
Schmidt said to CTV News that the ALPR system went into effect across the GTA on Monday and will continue to expand through Ontario in the coming weeks.
The new system enables police to read many license plates at once while on the road and track a variety of offenses including expired vehicle registrations, license suspensions, unlicensed drivers, and more.
In the video, Schmidt says that Mississauga OPP flagged 32 vehicles during a 22-minute traffic stop, with the help of ALPR.
The system identified one suspended driver, four unlicensed drivers, and 27 expired vehicle registrations.
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The OPP #ALPR system flagged 32 vehicles in the 22 minutes #MississaugaOPP were conducting another traffic stop. The system identified 1 suspended driver, 4 unlicensed drivers, and 27 expired vehicle registrations.
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— OPP Highway Safety Division (@OPP_HSD) February 13, 2023
Another officer in the video called it “surprisingly accurate.”
According to Waterloo Regional Police, ALPR makes it “more difficult for suspended drivers, drivers of stolen cars, and other vehicles with plates in poor standing to drive undetected.”
Here are the basics of how it works. The system scans thousands of cars on the road using a series of front and back cameras positioned on the cruiser.
Ontario police officers who are on ALPR duty have a “hot list” of license plates associated with certain offenses, such as expired validation tags, stolen vehicles, and suspended licenses.
The ALPR system then produces a “hit” when one of these plates is detected, allowing the officer to respond accordingly.
“Under optimal conditions, the ALPR system is capable of scanning thousands of license plates per hour,” says Waterloo police.
So, the next time you hit the road, you better make sure that you’re not on the hot list.
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