Published on 25 March, 2008
Genetec recently announced that within the last four months, five independent police departments within the State of Texas selected AutoVu, Genetec's advanced license plate recognition (LPR) solution, to automate the recovery of stolen vehicles. Currently, Houston PD, Corpus Christi PD, Del Rio PD, El Paso PD and Montgomery County Sherriff's Department, all located in Texas, have each equipped their team of officers with AutoVu.
Previous to the automation of checking license plates, officers would either manually punch license plate numbers into their mobile data terminals, which would then compare plate numbers to an online database of stolen vehicles, or they would call in numbers to dispatch centres if for some reason suspicion was raised. Although all police departments were manually scanning plates on a daily basis, the procedure was tedious and would only result in a maximum of 100 plates being checked per day.
"We were looking for the ability of speed, where we could run more plates; just something less time consuming," claimed Drew Sheppard, Auto Theft Investigator at Houston PD, about their reasons for looking for a technologically advanced LPR solution. Many lead officers on the project shopped around and consulted references prior to adopting the AutoVu technology, but it was a unanimous decision: "AutoVu seemed to be reading plates a lot more efficiently, that's why I purchased it," claimed Brian Hill, Supervisor for the Auto Theft Task Force from Corpus Christi PD. Today, with Genetec's AutoVu, officers can read up to 3,000 plates per day.
Amongst many other benefits of purchasing Genetec's AutoVu solution such as dealing with a pro-active vendor, having the ability to test a demo, and experiencing extensive customer support, law enforcement officers saw great value in two other features: its ability to read flat plates and the user-friendliness of the system. According to Detective David Mercier, Detective in the Auto Burglary & Theft Prevention/Recovery at Del Rio PD, "This solution is future-proofed. In case the State of Texas decides in the future to switch to flat plates, this technology will not become obsolete and we will not lose our investment." Mario Ceniceros, Administrative Sergeant at the Auto Theft Division from El Paso PD, also added, "It is doing exactly what we expected, and more. This is a solution that is self-explanatory and very simple to work."
Although all these police departments are still testing and discovering new capabilities, they have all agreed that the increased efficiency at recovering stolen vehicles has certainly justified their expense. Most even claimed that they needed to have more AutoVu mobile units on the streets in order to fully take advantage of the technology.
Genetec was thrilled to be able to provide more police officers in the State of Texas with tools to make their officers more efficient at recovering stolen vehicles, and glad that all these police departments feel confident in their investment. "Overall, we are extremely satisfied with the AutoVu system. I have nothing but good to say about [Genetec], from the sales person, to the tech support, to the installers. Every interaction that I have had [Genetec] has been extremely positive," stated Detective David Mercier.