Albany police gain an extra set of eyes

Albany police and others have a look at the Mobile License Plate Readers attached to officer's car. / Colby Gallagher

Meet the newest member of the Albany Police Department: the mobile license plate reader, an extra set of eyes that will serve alongside officers whenever they get behind the wheel.

"They're going to be using it during their normal patrolling to assist them with locating wanted persons, any individuals who may have insurance issues, tag issues, anything of that nature is why we're utilizing the tag readers at this point," said Albany Police Department's Public Information Officer, Phyllis Whitley-Banks.

The department had four tag readers installed on Tuesday - one for the traffic unit and one for each district. Officers went through training Wednesday afternoon so they can start utilizing the technology they say will help them make the roads safer.

"With this technology I think it's going to help a lot of the citizens as well us keep a lot of the violators off the road," said Officer Maurice Williams.

The little box packs some big power with a reading rate of 1,800 tags per second at speeds up to 150 miles per hour and unlike humans, it doesn't miss something in the blink of an eye.

"The readers will constantly be gathering information and collecting information regarding any vehicle that passes their path," said Whitley-Banks.

The device may not look like much but officers say if used correctly it's an important addition to a police force that has been proven in other areas.

"It is a proven technology. It has been used in other jurisdictions, used very effectively. We even know that ice is using it on the border," said APD's Chief John Proctor.

With a success rate of 92%, you can be sure you'll be seeing a lot more flashing lights around town in the near future.

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