November 30, 2016 4:52 pm
Updated: December 1, 2016 6:21 am

32 more Sask. police vehicles being armed with automated licence plate readers

Thirty-two additional police vehicles in Saskatchewan will be armed with automated licence plate readers.

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More police vehicles in Saskatchewan are being armed with automated licence plate readers (ALPRs) to enforce traffic safety.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) has invested $800,000 to install 32 ALPRs in all enforcement vehicles in the Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan (CTSS) pilot project in central and southeast regions of the province.

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“To have all patrol vehicles in the Combined Traffic Services pilot equipped with an ALPR system is such a time-saver,” RCMP Sgt. Al Hofland, acting officer in charge F division traffic services, said.

“They automate what used to be a manual process, and allow us to check a large number of licence plates automatically, quickly identifying high-risk drivers and giving us more time to focus on other aspects of patrol.”

READ MORE: Saskatchewan getting tougher on impaired driving with new laws

Hofland estimated that an actual individual could do 80 licence plate reads in a day, whereas the device can accomplish 120 an hour.

About half of the 32 ALPRs should be installed by Dec. 9 and the remaining devices by the end of January 2017.

ALPRs use infra-red technology that automatically scans plates and runs them through SGI registered owner information and Canadian Police Information Centre databases. If they are of police interest, officers are alerted on a computer screen.

READ MORE: Facial recognition coming to Saskatchewan driver’s licences

Plates that trigger an alert include expired plates, those on stolen vehicles, Amber Alerts or where the motorist has been suspended.

“Disqualified drivers are often people who are suspended due to impaired driving, so this is one more tool police can use to catch impaired drivers, in support of new impaired driving laws that take effect Jan. 1,” Joe Hargrave, the minister responsible for SGI, said.

“It’s an amazing new tool … [police] can drive down a row of vehicles and can read them all in 10 seconds instead of the 10 or 15 minutes that it would take to do them the old-fashioned way.”

Hargrave said there are already 47 ALPRs in the province.

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