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Video: New Technology Helps Police Find Stolen Cars, Catch Criminals

License Plate Readers can read 1,000 plates a minute.

The Bedford Police Department has driven into the future.

New technology—license plate readers mounted on police cars— can read a thousand plates a minute and notify police officers when a car is stolen, has a suspended registration, or is potentially being driven by someone who has committed a serious crime.

The LPR was installed on a police patrol car in July 2009 but was out of commission for the last six months after the car was involved in a collision. The car is now back in service, and has been a tremendous asset to the department, according to Police Lieutenant Jeffrey Dickan.

"In the last year and a half, the LPR led to 578 hits, 14 out of state positive hits, one stolen car recovered, and 38 arrests," he said. "Without it, those arrests would not have been possible."

However useful, the technology doesn't come cheap. The LPR was purchased for $22,000 using state grant funds. The department is seeking funds to purchase an additional unit.

Click on the video of the Patch ride-along—driving and narrative provided by Sergeant Dave Novick—to see how the technology works.

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