High-Tech Crime Fighter Pays Off

Officer Aaron Sherwood has a secret weapon on top of his car.  It's a high-tech license plate scanner, that's starting to pay big dividends for the City of Lewisville.

The scanner automatically reads license plates of passing cars and checks them against a police database.  In the first week the scanner was on board Sherwood's car, he estimates he cleared six hundred outstanding warrants, including warrants for people who owed the city money on unpaid fines. 

"You're able to pinpoint them without having to do as much of the digging," Sherwood said.

In tight budget times, the expensive scanners may turn out to be a good investment.  They cost about $25,000 a piece.  Lewisville has installed them in three cars, using grant money and money from the city's municipal court system.  The city is betting it may be able to haul in enough deadbeats on unpaid tickets, that the scanners will eventually pay for themselves. 

In one year, the plate scanners have also helped police recover 14 stolen cars, capture robbery suspects and hit-and-run suspects just by driving and scanning.

Other North Texas cities, including Dallas, are also experimenting with the scanners. 

In Lewisville, officers who use them said they wish they had one in every car.,

"It is a very, very valuable tool," Sherwood said.

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