The Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office will be installing license plate readers on major roadways throughout the parish to crack down on uninsured drivers. (Source: KSLA News 12)
BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) -
The Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office has installed four license plate readers and plans to install 40 more on major roadways throughout the parish to crack down on uninsured drivers.
The technology will allow law enforcement to target uninsured drivers, who cause law-abiding citizens to have increased insurance rates.
“We are taking a proactive law enforcement approach with the use of these license plate readers, and the results are promising as they help with our primary function, public safety, while also helping taxpayers save some of their hard-earned money,” said Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington.
The license plate reader scans the plates of every driver going through intersections. When a vehicle passes by without the required insurance, a “notice of violation” will be mailed to the vehicle’s registered owner.
If the owner does have the required insurance, then the driver needs to provide proof of insurance to the sheriff’s office, and the citation will be dismissed.
“This process is similar to when a deputy makes a traffic stop with a vehicle,” said Sheriff Whittington. “When the driver cannot produce proof of insurance, a citation can be issued. One difference though, is that the process for with the license plate reader is less invasive since there is not an actual traffic stop.
Sheriff Whittington says the license plate readers are not red light camera where the driver has to be identified and then go to court and argue whether the light changed too quickly.
"Either you have auto insurance or you don't. There is no ambiguity here," said Sheriff Whittington.
The license plate reader could also prove valuable when Amber Alerts are issued and other activity occurs.
“Let’s say our deputies are searching for a suspect and we know the type of vehicle and license plate,” Sheriff Whittington continued. “The license plate reader provides us extra sets of eyes around the parish in order to locate and bring the suspect into custody or at least know the route of travel.”
Authorities have been testing four cameras along La. Highways 2 and 3 in the northern part of the parish.
Deputies say they were able to catch two suspects in a different criminal investigation using this technology.
In one instance, a Texas couple had gone on a crime spree of stealing copper from cell phone tower sites from Oklahoma to Louisiana in 2016.
In Bossier Parish alone, they stole about 1,000 pounds of copper worth nearly $40,000 from four different cell phone tower sites.
Bossier Parish detectives were working with law enforcement agencies in five counties in Oklahoma and other jurisdictions in northwest Louisiana to catch the thieves, but the couple continued to dodge authorities.
After a four-month investigation, a single license plate reader caught the tags of the thieves. The Dallas couple was arrested and charged with seven counts of simple burglary.
In the summer of 2016, Bossier Parish detectives arrested a man wanted for robbing a half-dozen Subway restaurants.
His crime spree went over five state lines but ended with the help of the license plate reader.
The plan is to install the other readers at undisclosed intersections in the parish in the next four to six months.