License Plate Readers in the Las Vegas Valley

For years, law enforcement officials in the Las Vegas valley have used the help of license plate readers to track drivers’ whereabouts. The scanners, which made their debut at the Las Vegas Metro Police Department in January of 2006, have helped officers find stolen vehicles and locate missing people with ease.  But are License Plate Readers (LPR’s) still widely used? Last month, a local news station set out to see if these trackers are still as popular as they were in ’06.

Given their value and effectiveness in locating crime suspects, it may come as a shock that only one police department in the entire valley still relying on the use of LPR’s: Henderson. Other departments, including Nevada Highway Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Agency, have successfully phased LPR’s out of their operations. This shift was partially due to the controversial nature of the scanners themselves.

various license plates

The Cons

Sure the scanners have been integral in locating violent offenders, missing persons and stolen property, but at what cost? Tod Story, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, thinks that LPR’s are a massive violation of drivers’ privacy, especially those who have no reason to be tracked or flagged in the first place. “The License Plate Readers assume everyone is guilty, which is just the opposite of due process.”


The Lone LPR Ranger

The Henderson Police Department, however, has yet to face serious issues stemming from said controversies. According to Capt. Marc Cassell, who reports no problems with the LPR’s, the Henderson Police Department currently uses nine LPR’s in three command areas, which read upwards of 50,000 license plates monthly. The data collected by scanners is kept in the Henderson system for five years, regardless of whether the individual has a criminal history or not.

Aside from finding missing persons or stolen property, license plate scanners could very well be valuable in tracking down hit-and-run suspects, among other road-related incidents that you may need to bring to the attention of a car accident attorney in Las Vegas.