ISP using technology to keep roads safe

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Technology is helping Indiana State Police keep the roads safe. Electronic license plate readers led to an arrest on Sunday and hundreds of other criminal charges over the last year.

The technology helps troopers find stolen cars, suspended or wanted drivers, and it often leads them to people committing additional crimes.

“When there is one crime usually there is another crime, so I find a stolen car, I’ll also find drugs and everything,” said Trooper Christopher Waltz.

That was the case Sunday afternoon when Trooper Waltz’s license plate reader alerted him to a stolen plate.

He stopped the car and found 36-year-old Billy Preston behind the wheel. Indiana State Police say in addition to the stolen plate, Preston had a suspended license.

“So he’s under arrest, through further investigation we found marijuana on him and then also about 6.5 ounces, which is roughly half a pound, of marijuana in the vehicle,” said Trooper Waltz.

He said the arrest was thanks to the plate reading technology.

“I wouldn’t have stopped him if it wouldn’t have told me he had a stolen license plate attached to his car,” said Trooper Waltz.

The system includes three cameras on the top of the patrol car and a computer system inside the car.

Cameras scan the license plates of each and every car the trooper passes.

“We get stolen cars, suspended drivers, people with warrants, things of nature,” said Trooper Waltz.

Indiana State Police just upgraded to a new version of this technology about a year ago. Police say more than 800 criminal charges were filed as a result of the cameras. Trooper Waltz thinks the technology makes the roads safer for everyone on them.

“Absolutely safer. Taking people suspended off the streets and then also the drugs, stolen vehicles, all the criminal aspect of it as well,” said Trooper Waltz.

Four ISP cars are equipped with the technology. They all work in the Indianapolis area.