Rockford police give an in-depth look into license plate readers

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- 23 WIFR hitched a ride with Rockford patrol officer Tim Stec to see how license plate readers help officers keep criminals off the streets

Stec has recovered four stolen vehicles on his regular routes since the department added license plate readers two years ago.

"There's one on the driver's side, two on the passenger side, and as you're rolling down the street or in a parking lot, it'll automatically read the license plates," said Stec.

Every camera has three different spots where it can capture snapshots of plates.

"The cars have to be at a certain distance and the license plates have to be in a certain spot [for it to read properly]."

"You'll get anywhere from one to a half a dozen hits [in one shift]," said Stec.

Sometimes those snapshots aren't completely accurate.

"You want to verify that that is actually what they have. Run through it and make sure that it's the currect state," said Stec.

Even though it's not always perfect, Stec says it's much better than him doing the job alone.