SWFL law enforcement utilizing license plate readers to track down suspects

Published: July 27, 2021 10:20 PM EDT
Updated: July 27, 2021 11:15 PM EDT

Subtle technology is helping keep Southwest Florida safe.

License plate readers are helping local law enforcement agencies in Southwest Florida keep everyone safer in public. The technology is nabbing a number of accused criminals, and the backs of cars are the key to many answers.

Locally, law enforcement officers are working to get any answers they holds in their systems.

“They’ve purchased more of them into their budgets in the last few years,” explained Rich Kolko, WINK News Safety & Security Specialist. “And they’ve added it as an investigative tool once they found out how helpful it really was.”

Recently, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Myers Police Department and Cape Coral Police Department shared some of their license plate reader success stories.

“I think it’s great,” Jay Murray said. “I think, you know, record my license plate. If I did something wrong, then, I should pay the price.”

The license plate readers give alerts for cars or plates on “hotlists.” That’s for plates entered into the National Crime Information Center, as well as plates associated AMBER Alerts or Silver Alerts.

“I think using that to catch people, especially if you know if there’s somebody that stole a child and they’ve done like the alerts and all that, I think that’s a great way to catch people,” Andrea Esposito said. “You can catch up with somebody just by being in your car that way, versus putting on the street. You know walking on the street during the heat.”

It makes the task of tracking down suspects that much easier for officers of the law.

“In reality, investigatively, it’s helpful, and it helps you to community safer,” Kolko said.