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Old crime fighting technique modernized for today's police
ESCAMBIA COUNTY -- It's an old crime fighting technique modified for the modern era.
Local law enforcement agencies are keeping a close eye on license plates to keep an eye out for criminals.
Police are looking at license plates, and why unsuspecting motorist feel it's an invasion on their privacy.
"License plate readers are cameras attached that are usually attached to law enforcement vehicles. Sometimes they're on the trunk, on top of the car or they could be inside, but with a quick tap of a button they can pull up your information without you even knowing"
Lauren Martin - Concerned About License Plate Readers
"Do you know what a license plate reader is? Is it like a camera that takes a picture of a license plate?"
Lauren Martin wasn't the only one that's never heard of a license plate reader.
But they happen to be common amongst law enforcement.
They can scan thousands of license plates in a matter of hours.
From the highway to parking lots.
They use infrared light to read the plates, then puts that information into a national database.
If a plate matches a vehicle sought after by police, an alarm sounds inside the cruiser.
Tracey Posehn - Concerned About License Plate Readers
"I think it's a huge invasion of my privacy and just another big government thing they're trying to do"
While not every 'local' law enforcement agency actively use license plate readers...
The Escambia County Sheriff's Office does, and they say it's been helpful.
Sena Maddison - Escambia Co. Sheriff's Office PIO
"It's just another way to keep bad guys off the street to find them when they're out there we can locate missing vehicles that way, it's going to come in handy in situations where there's missing amber alerts"
Michael Schultz - Concerned About License Plate Readers
"If you aren't doing anything illegal then I guess it shouldn't matter but for the whole amber alert I fully agree"
Because license plates are displayed publicly, outside of vehicles, no warrant is needed to get that information.
Darin Marple - Concerned About License Plate Readers
"It certainly comes with alot of questions, where's the data going to be used, who has access to it"
"The ACLU claims 85 % of law enforcement agencies will be using license plate readers by 2015."