Strongsville police will soon join a growing number of department using an Automatic License Plate Reader, a high-tech camera that captures license plates of passing vehicles and compares them to a criminal database.
They are typically used to find people with outstanding warrants and stolen cars, but specific information can also be entered into the database -- a car used in an Amber Alert, say.
Police can now access the criminal database, but do it a vehicle at a time. The cameras can enter thousands of license plates per hour.
Police Chief Charles Goss says they'll let police work smarter, not harder.
Strongsville won't have to pay for the $16,300 system. Cuyahoga County received a grant for several of them.
But not everyone is thrilled with the idea. The American Civil Liberties Union -- and some Strongsville Patch readers -- worry the devices will jeopardize Americans' privacy.
According to the ACLU's website, law enforcement agencies can create databases that track and store the location of every motorist who encounters the system.
It then "becomes a warrantless tracking tool, enabling retroactive surveillance of millions of people," keeping tabs on our visits to doctors, churches and addiction counseling, the ACLU says.
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