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Police in Jackson, MS, use Genetec license plate recognition technology

Genetec, a provider of unified IP security solutions, announced on March 13 that Jackson (Mississippi) Police Department is using the AutoVu License Plate Recognition (LPR) solution to help its officers identify criminals and scofflaws and increase the safety of its citizens. 

The Jackson City PD currently has several vehicles equipped with Genetec AutoVu mobile LPR systems, located in each of the city's precincts, to ensure that there is an officer in each precinct patrolling and utilizing the technology to scan their area at all times. AutoVu automatically collects vehicle license plates, runs them against a computerized “hot list,” and if there is a match, alerts the Jackson PD officers of issues and infractions, without interfering with their working day or duties. 

Inside each police cruiser, on a ruggedized laptop installed for the driver’s use, is the AutoVu Patroller, an easy-to-use software designed to automate the verification of vehicle license plates. On the body of each of the cars are two AutoVu SharpX IP-based LPR cameras. Specifically designed for mobile applications, the SharpX IP on-vehicle camera is one of the smallest high-resolution LPR cameras in the world, says Genetec, in a news release it issued on March 14. It provides images with two to three times higher resolution than most other LPR cameras on the market and results in extremely accurate license plate read rates -- even in bad weather, at poor angles and at high speeds. 

The in-vehicle Patroller application helps officers review all data collected throughout the day while the officers back at the central PD unit can monitor and analyze reads from the vehicles. Wirelessly, or at the end of a shift, all data collected is synchronized with the Jackson PD's central system for ongoing analysis. 

The Jackson PD has been running Genetec AutoVu systems since 2011. Jackson PD's LPR-equipped cars were originally tasked with locating motorists with multiple unpaid moving violations, but the department soon found many other benefits and uses for the technology.

"Initially, we were looking for a way to help us to locate people with multiple unpaid moving violations, and to increase our odds of catching them," explained Eric Wall, deputy chief of patrol operations at the Jackson PD. “Using the NCIC and warrant hotlist, the AutoVu LPR system has been so successful in helping us recover all of these outstanding fines, that the system is paying for itself. Once we started using the LPR system, we soon discovered that a number of the people we had identified for unpaid moving violations were also wanted for other crimes, which led to a number of arrests and convictions. Being able to take felony offenders off the streets of Jackson to keep our citizens safe is always a significant accomplishment." 

More recently, during the holidays' "Operation Safe Shop," the Jackson PD was able to use its LPR-equipped vehicles to scan cars coming into major retail centers and apprehend wanted felons before they could enter the stores. "We are confident that we were able to reduce the amount of in-store theft, reduce the number of burglarized cars in the parking lots, and keep holiday shoppers safer that way," said Deputy Chief Wall.

Because it is uniquely located at the intersection of Interstate 55 (which crosses the country from North to South), and Interstate 20 (which crosses from East to West), the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program considers Jackson a key area.  A few months ago, during a routine patrol, the AutoVu system was able to flag the car of wanted narcotics dealers, which led to their arrest. Based on their successes, Jackson PD is now planning to increase the number of vehicles equipped with AutoVu to support their narcotics and K9 divisions. 

"Being able to add this technology to our road interdiction units will not only help out our own city, but will play a significant role in supporting other regional agencies stem the trafficking of drugs throughout the region," added Deputy Chief Wall.  

“We get great satisfaction in seeing how quickly the hard-working law enforcement officers of the Jackson, Miss. Police Department were able to benefit from their AutoVu LPR system,” added Stephan Kaiser, general manager for AutoVu at Genetec. “They improved the safety of the general public and their officers on duty, apprehended wanted suspects all the while realizing a solid return on their investment, by recouping lost revenue from delinquent motorists.”

 

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