Vt. Police Adopt License Plate Reader

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Police departments throughout Vermont have begun to adopt a new technology known as LPR – or License Plate Reader.

The technology allows police to photograph a license plate and cross reference it with a Motor Vehicles Department database to check ownership records.

Police in Burlington, Colchester, South Burlington and Shelburne already use LPR.

Newport, Milton, Hardwick and Essex are acquiring it.

During an Essex select board meeting last month, Essex Police Chief Brad LaRose spoke in favor of the technology. He says it could be used to build a database of shared information to help aid investigations.

At least one select board member worried the technology could infringe on personal privacy.

Others were concerned about whether Vermont’s prisons could handle a spike in arrests.  

The cost of a LPR device is currently $25,000 and can be funded by a grant through Homeland Security and the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program.

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