INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis police are putting in more time on the streets with a new technology aimed at connecting dots faster when crimes occur.
License plate reader technology has been around for about three years, according to IMPD, but the department recently upped its inventory from one car to seven – and they're now in use every day on every shift.
Officer Joe Kraeszig is among those officers whose patrol car is equipped with a license plate reader.
RTV6 rode along with him Friday as he patrolled Indianapolis' east side, looking for stolen cars and suspended drivers. Kraeszig also stopped by the Marina Apartments, the scene of a triple homicide on Sunday , to put the license plate reader to work.
"Maybe one of these plates will lead to suspect information for a detective, or put a suspect at this location," Kraeszig said.
The police department uses the technology in violent crimes, homicides, shootings, armed robberies and arsons. But the license plate reader system is unmatched when it comes to identifying stolen cars and suspended drivers.
"It can read 100 plates in 15 minutes," Kraeszig said. "And that would take me all shift."
Each policing district has its own license plate reader car. They capture thousands of license plates per day. The department then downloads the data into a server capable of holding several million plates' numbers.
"They are deployed daily, especially in the hot zones, the saturation zones that we call the high crime areas that we have identified throughout the city where we have issues," said Deputy Chief Mike Bates, of IMPD's Homeland Security Division.
In one particular traffic stop of a driver with a suspended license, the reader detected at least three more drivers with license issues, including one identified as a habitual traffic violator who had been banned by the BMV from driving for at least 10 years.
Detecting her behind the wheel again with the reader allowed police to arrest her for a felony criminal violation.
"I can still do my regular course of duty even without messing with it," Kraeszig said. "It will pick up plates. In case a stolen car drives by and I don't know it, it will pick up on it."
IMPD said the data obtained by the license plate reader is downloaded every day and stored for up to six months, though information obtained in critical investigations is stored indefinitely.