Douglas Co. ramps up license plate scanning tech

by: Carl Willis Updated:

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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. - Soon more Douglas County deputies will be equipped to scan and store information from every single vehicle they pass. 
 

The Sheriff's Office is preparing to nearly double the number of automatic license-plate readers currently on the streets.
 
Many residents said they welcome the technology.
 
"Most drivers are safe, conscientious drivers and there's a few crooks in the crowd," said Joe Biggs.
 
Those crooks in the crowd will find it harder to blend in once the new tag readers hit the streets.
 
The system is able to scan and run hundreds of tags per minute.
 
"If you're in a stolen car or you're wanted you better stay out of Douglas because a patrol car passes you, we're going to know about it," said Chief Deputy Stan Copeland.
 
Copeland said deputies even caught up with a person of interest in a homeland security case and were able to pass intelligence to investigators.
 
The county already has seven tag readers in use.
 
Five more are on the way, thanks to more than $100,000 in seized drug money.
 
Still, some residents told Channel 2's Carl Willis they were uneasy about deputies scanning and storing information from every tag they pass.
 
"I don't think that's right, man," said Matt Fleming. "I think our rights are being taken every day more and more." 
 
"They keep your information," said Rodney Raiford. "Where does it go? Does it get deleted? Does it stay, or do they use it again? It's like a tag DNA."
 
Copeland said the readers don't check registration information, or tell deputies who holds the tag.
 
"It's not a privacy concern unless you have a problem with you, you're wanted or you have a stolen car," said Copeland. "That's when it becomes a problem."
 
The sheriff eventually wants every squad car to have this system.
 
"Some people need to be caught and that's the only way," said Greg Ringer.
 
The new units have been ordered and could be on the streets within 30 days.