How Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology works

An officer from the Long Beach Police Department shows how automatic license plate recognition technology works. He demos a system installed in a patrol car equipped with four cameras. "Each camera is recording at all times, so no matter what mode you're in, it'll be recording off all four of the cameras… it shows you a picture the car, it shows you a picture of the plate that it caught and then what it does is it takes that image and using optical character recognition it will compare it to a database. In our case we are running multiple databases — we have 'wanted felony vehicles,' 'be on the lookout,' '24 hour hotsheet,' 'wanted by detectives,' 'LA County warrants,' and our 'gang unit.' In addition to this we have 'stolen vehicles,' which are available to everybody in the state. Currently in our database we have 24,000,000 plus reads."

They also have a "parking scofflaw" database. "If a car has five or more outstanding parking tickets, state law allows us to tow it. And that turns into a revenue generator for the city… we have generated in excess of $3 million dollars."

The cheerful music licensed to accompany this promotional video is there to assure you that this technology is being used for public safety. (Via Doobybrain)