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Date last updated: Monday, July 16, 11:57 PST

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Calif. town to vote on $42K grant for license plate scanning equipment

By Phillip Zonkel
Press Telegram

SIGNAL HILL, Calif. — Finding stolen vehicles or wanted suspects might get a little easier thanks to a $42,130 grant for 21st century technology from the Department of Homeland Security.

The city was awarded the grant so it can purchase equipment that scans license plates and immediately cross-references the information with criminal databases, according to a city council staff report.

The report, however, did not list specific equipment purchases the grant would cover.

The City Council is expected to vote Tuesday night on accepting the grant.

Signal Hill Police Chief Michael Langston recommends the council accept the grant, according to the staff report.

The cities of Long Beach and Lakewood already use license plate scanning devices.

Last August, Lakewood received a free upgrade to its device, which is used by the Lakewood Sheriff's Station.

The equipment, which is mounted in a sheriff's squad car, scans license plates as it passes vehicles and checks the information against local, regional and state criminal databases.

Each plate is compared with a list of plate numbers associated with auto thefts, felony warrants, parking violations and Amber alerts.

The upgraded version is digital. It includes four cameras instead of three and a fingerprint recognition system, allowing deputies to immediately check a suspect's fingerprints against a criminal database.

Copyright 2012 Press-Telegram

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