Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Blog post on Schenectady and new license plate reader

I was tipped off to this post on new technology in Schenectady, and asked to post my thoughts about it.

It will probably not surprise regular readers to know I'm not fond of the idea of police having a scanner reading license plates seemingly at random as the police vehicle drives down the street. A bit too much Big Brother.

Concerns include the accuracy of the device. What if the device misreads a plate and this leads to a traffic stop ... and something goes wrong?

The discussion also indicates how much money will be brought in by catching all these scofflaws. But the reality is that many scofflaws will eventually be brought in anyway when something else happens -- driver license renewal; regular traffic stop; insurance renewal; etc. So it's not that more money will be generated, but rather that it will come in a little quicker.

On the other hand, I can't say I'm losing a lot of sleep over this issue either way. There are bigger fish to fry.


david giacalone said...

Thanks for your two cents, Warren. They say there are lots of checks to make sure there are no erroneous stops.

I'm glad you caught their bad math -- counting all MPH900 income as if it would never had been received otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I regularly use this device in my job. If used properly it is almost error free. The device takes a photo of the license plate that it alerts to and freezes it on the operators screen. The operator is then responsible to verify the information prior to stopping anyone. In addition the operator will most likely follow the vehicle and verify with his or her own two eyes. The only people who need to fear this device are people who practice criminal activities.

Anonymous said...

"What if the device misreads a plate and this leads to a traffic stop ... and something goes wrong?"

Please define "something goes wrong," because unless you have a penchant for non-compliance and non-cooperation when stopped by the police, what, precisely, would "go wrong"?

Unknown said...

By "something goes wrong" I mean something like the Rodney King incident, or some misunderstanding where the police infringement of the 4th amendment leads to injury.