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Automated License Plate Reading Tech Comes to Manchester Police

Recently installed system automatically scans license plates and compares them to state, national databases

Without lifting a finger from his squad car's steering wheel, Patrolman Antonio Ellis completed a routine check of license plates in the parking lot of a Manchester bank.

As he neared the exit of the lot, a "Low Alert" sounded, accompanied by a message on the computer screen mounted in his police squad car. 

"New Jersey Motor Vehicle expired," he said. 

A photo of the car and a reading of its license plate appeared on the monitor. Ellis manually compares what the Automated License Plate Recognition system interpreted to the actual photo of the New Jersey tag.

It's a match — the owner of the white sedan neglected to renew the vehicle registration, the system reported. Since the parked car isn't operating on public roads at the moment, Ellis went inside the bank to issue the driver a warning. 

The PIPS Technology system, purchased at no cost to the township with a $33,000 Department of Homeland Security grant and installed on one Manchester patrol car, will allow officers to be more productive, said Chief of Police Brian Klimakowski. Manchester has what are deemed "critical infrastructures" in town, including Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, which is why the federal money was awarded.

"This will obviously help us track down cars that aren't registered, that are suspended, that are attached to drivers that are wanted," Klimakowski said. "This platform magnifies what a patrol officer could do by a hundred. It does something that's not even possible by a human."

Mounted on the top of the patrol car is the three camera system — two cameras face forward at 45 degree angles and a third aims sideways. The cameras pick up license plate numbers through infrared signals. 

When the camera-equipped squad car is on the road, "I like to say, Manchester has three extra eyes on patrol," Ellis said. 

Part of the purchase price included training. Major Police Supply, the vendor in New Jersey, came to the department for a day of training last week, which Ellis said was enough to learn the system. 

"It pretty much runs itself. It's very easy to interface with," the patrolman said. "It's very user-friendly — we can't have distractions in the car."

During a demonstration given to Manchester Patch last week, Ellis parked his patrol car in front of the Municipal Complex on Colonial Drive. In about 10 minutes time, the system read nearly 70 license plates of vehicles driving in both directions on the roadway. 

Since the system can run in the background while an officer completes other computer work, such as typing up a report, for example, it allows police to be more productive. Ellis said that part of a patrolman's duty is randomly checking license plates — an efficient officer could manually check about 150 to 200 plates per shift.

"This system can do 3,000 per shift without him having to touch the keyboard," Ellis said.

The technology does not signal the beginning of a more invasive police department, according to Klimakowski. 

"This new piece of equipment enables us to do what we've always been allowed to do, just at a higher rate," the chief said. "Law enforcement officers have always been allowed to conduct random checks of license plates via computers. These cameras are just magnifying the job that a police officer can do."

Each plate is compared to two databases — the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission which is updated weekly and the daily-updated National Crime Information Center. If a match is returned, the system alerts the officer accordingly. 

"An expired registration would be a low priority," Ellis said. "A stolen vehicle or wanted person would be a high priority."

Before officers respond to a database hit and stop a vehicle believed to be in violation, they must verify that the information is correct. 

"[The system] is not 100 percent accurate," Ellis said. "You have to verify what it's taking a picture of. You have to verify it translates [the license plate] correctly."

The plates captured by the system are stored for five years, as mandated by police policy. The cameras are able to pick up plates even at speeds of 160 mph, or 80 mph for the patrol car and 80 mph for a vehicle traveling the opposite direction. 

Different audio cues are sounded depending on if an alert is issued, minimizing distraction to the patrolman driving the car. 

"It definitely allows [an officer] to concentrate on his primary tasks," Ellis said, such as using his eyes to scan the road for violations and paying attention to safe driving. 

"We're really excited about this new piece of equipment," Klimakowski said. "Overall, it's definitely going to be an asset to Manchester and will be an effective tool."

Bobbi May 25, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Your correct on that. A lot of falsehoods are being put out there. Sgt. Lowe retired due to a accident. He was aquitted of civil rights violation. And he never sexually harassed any female that was on the force. That female officer that was spoken about left because her fiancé at the time was military and was transferred to Washington State.
We Own The Night May 25, 2012 at 05:51 PM
He was not acquitted. He entered into s settlement to avoid the embarrassment of going to trial
We Own The Night May 25, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Bobbi, what is your relationship to Mayor Robbins and family? Sounds like you still have a case of sour grapes because your brother (was it) who Robbins tried to hire for the DPW and was shot down.
Bobbi May 25, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Reread the documents again. the one document says officers involved were acquitted. A smear campaign is always counterproductive to everyone involved..it is very disturbing to me. There are always a better way to handle things..we can agree to disagree..thank you for not attacking me and listening to my side of things.
Bobbi May 25, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Ok didn't see the above comment so you are on the attack I am sorry for that. My relationship with the Mayor and his family are not your business. My brother never applied for any position in the boro. He is not a resident here.
We Own The Night May 25, 2012 at 06:13 PM
He didn't apply because we shot it down at the meeting and took away his opportunity before he could complete the process.
Bobbi May 25, 2012 at 06:26 PM
My family is none of your business. I have not attacked you and yours. I would expect same from you.
We Own The Night May 25, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Just pointing out that your opinion is very subjective because it is latent with nepotism.
Bobbi May 25, 2012 at 06:41 PM
How can my opinion be subjective with nepotism to be employed by the boro you have to be a resident here.
We Own The Night May 25, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Mayor Robbins and his wife are your family members, you worked for the borough. If Mr Low can lose an election for councilman and become a councilman a month later anything goes in Lakehurst. There are some very respectable people who work for the "boro" and the Robbins family and co are not part of them. Do your homework. Have a good weekend and God Bless those who died for our freedoms.
feelreallybadforyou May 25, 2012 at 07:06 PM
what is really funny is Sgt Lowe has nothing to do with this article nor does Lakehurst so you who hides behind different screen names or has your family like a wife and kid maybe write to. get off your high horse and get a life. you sound like a man who hates his life and tries to make everyone else as unhappy as you are. I feel very sorry for you, all you do is type negitive things about Lakehust and Sgt Lowe, really why. If you have a personal problem with the man then discuss it like a man not a coward talking trash on the computer. Remember no one can take your happiness unless you let them and it seems to me you have been defeated
Bobbi May 25, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Enough..you don't like me that is clear..so let's just drop it. But I am sure you will get that last word in and that is ok too. Please stay away from me I have not personally attacked you. If you want to debate that is one thing we can agree to disagree..who Iiam related to or not really is not your business.
onthecuff May 25, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Bobbi, I see that we finally have a mutual respect. I understand that this is an open forum, but if there are things that are said to other people, then it just has to stay there. I respect you and your comments, providing you do the same as well. We're good.
onthecuff May 25, 2012 at 07:57 PM
I have to agree We Own The Night. This article is about the Manchester police Department, starting what other municipalities and the State already do. They have scanners on their vehicles, that can bring up information regarding registration, license ... things of that nature. I think it's a great thing. I think a scan and having a computer go off, keeps the officers focus on the road, instead of having to type in a plate number or call it in..... I have NO IDEA how former SGT. Lowe was brought into this whole thing???? He was an officer in Lakehurst. And Yes Bobbi, after it was deemed that he really could no longer return as a Police Officer nor perform the duties, as he did once,, he put his time in, he was eligible for retirement and did just that. And that's a good thing because now he receives his pension. And he walked away with his pride and his dignity.... Ya can't take that away from him.
Bobbi May 25, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Thank you on the cuff yes we are on the same page I will respect you and your comments no more mudslinging..yes we're good. Again thank you
onthecuff May 25, 2012 at 08:10 PM
My personal opinion, and I am not exempt because I am under here as an alias as well, HOWEVER, Maybe the Patch needs to do what the Asbury Park press has done and people should comment with their real names. I have no clue as to how this whole article with the Manchester PD turned into a ( excuse my language ) pissing contest regarding Former Sgt. Lowe. I do see the comment from "feelreallybadforyou" assuming that this guy has his wife and kid commenting possible as well. I have seen other comments about people being Turds and not paying rent etc. I think its ridiculous. I strongly think that the Patch needs to do what the Press does and have people comment with their real names, like on your FB page. I think once that happens, people would be more likely not to be so harsh towards one another and attack each other, because everyone will be very well known.
Bobbi May 25, 2012 at 08:20 PM
On the cuff everything you just wrote is well said!
Bobbi May 25, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Onthecuff...I think it's a great idea!!!
Property Taxed 2 Death May 26, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Ratzor, you say 1 thing and do another, “you should be a little more respectful regarding those that have served especially over the holiday weekend” yet you insult People who served in the Army, cooks, fat people and others . I insult only you and only after you began and continue to insult me. You are a mental midget. Did I say I have a problem with the police? NO I have a problem with the GOVERNMENT who took them from fighting CRIME to being mostly guys who ticket average citizens for minor offenses like an expired registration or inspection. You’re a moron and can not understand the written words in front of your stupid face You ask me to be respectful but except to you who I consider a pile or worthless crap, I have not insulted anyone, yet your piss poor attitude senseless remarks and really lame attempts to insult me continue avoid joining the military you WON'T fit in I’ll end here with this I looked up the name Ratzor claimed was him but found no Ex Marine in this area who would have served in the last 11 years at the rank of Sgt. The closest I found were from WW2 and the first gulf war. I also found Retired Lakehurst police sergeant Gary Lowe who was the only Sgt Lowe from or living in the area ... It's my opinion you are about 10 -12 years old, fairly stupid and assumed the ID of one of the actual or deceased Sgt Lowe’s or of the retired Police Officer Lowe, or you may be related to one of them, but you are NOT a veteran .
Property Taxed 2 Death May 26, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Don’t worry I won’t call you an "emposter" because there is no such word, you are an IMPOSTOR Remember yesterdays lesson about this little thing? ’ You forgot to use it again! I guess your attention and retention span is a nanosecond. Your spelling actually got worse ! Ratzor, everything I said was in response to your statements . You just have no ability to comprehend the English language. God knows you certainly have no ability to write in English. My statements are factual. Look them up. You make no sense with most of the drivel that you think has a meaning like “ you were probably a leg or a cook in there.” is that moronic verse supposed to have a meaning or insult hidden in it somewhere? A leg? A cook? You have no clue how to make an intelligent response.. last time you wrongly accused me of “bash public servants” WRONG! I did oppose that Law enforcement evolved into traffic cops who have a main duty to write tickets and not actually solve crimes. There are a lot of great cops as well as some bad ones as in any job. Here you are, a self professed educated man much loftier than I, insulting fat people, all cooks in the Military and EVERYONE who ever wore the Army Uniform on this Memorial Day Weekend as well as all fat people. It shows you have no class and no sense, are illiterate, unintelligent, uneducated, inbred, and still attempt to mock others. You aren't a total failure. You make a strong argument for retroactive abortion.
Property Taxed 2 Death May 26, 2012 at 08:43 PM
You admit you aren’t a Veteran but them lie again claiming to be a “combat veteran” yep you make sense. The only combat you were in was getting beaten up by little girls when you were in the Brownies. If you are not a Veteran, you can not be a “combat veteran” It's that simple
Property Taxed 2 Death May 26, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Yes Ratzor, I am indeed the only tax payer here in the USA and I will pack a lunch because you lie & now claim to have been ‘deployed’ twice As for you being a Marine, if you were, you would have accepted my challenge for a hand to hand match but you avoided that like a chicken . “Skin potatoe’s” ? more proof you never served. Plus there is no such thing as a potatoe . Dummy it is spelled POTATO How about we meet and if I don’t knock you out cold in 30 seconds, I won’t fight back Next you dare to mock Army Soldiers? Again your words prove you are a simpleton. Only an insecure baby, not a Marine, would attempt to get to someone by mocking others as you attempt to do. You’re a puny insignificant joke. I would never mock on the Marines to insult you, because they are mostly good brave men and women, as are almost all US Soldiers Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard and Coast Guard. That’s just 1 reason I know you were NEVER a Soldier. Your attempt to insult others who actually served is a failed attempt for you to try to appear you are not lying about being a Marine. You are a boil on the rectum of the Earth Oh and Howard Tern was a wannabe comedian trying to play off Stern. He had a Public Access TV show in Montana about 10-15 years ago and like you was a total failure
Property Taxed 2 Death May 26, 2012 at 08:53 PM
You talk like a sissy. You were NEVER in the service. You are either a teenager or a 38 year old wannabe guy living with his mommy OH NO! you called me a maniac !!!! And a cook! WOW with wit like that you really should be on the Howard Tern show . You actually have the lack of intelligence to insult masses of people thinking you are insulting me? You are less than a worthless worm Lets see, you called me fat and uneducated but when I pointed out you, who allude that you are more educated and smarter than I am, lack even a 3rd grade ability to spell, you cry like a widdle baby :( The 22 mistakes in your 2 latest rants, proves again that you can’t spell as well as a 3rd grader. You then claim I wrote 14 pages? then you changed that to 47 Paragraphs???? Congrats Mr. Smarty Diaper you just failed kindergarten counting . You again failed to make any point, failed to make even a insect farts worth of sense and still you attempt but fail to mock me. That’s funny. Are these supposed to make sense ? “You are gutless you have no offense and good defense is your offense” “the next one up on the clock tower remmi.” “I guess you are another one who feels you are the only who pays taxes. Iraq wasnt my only deployment either cookie so you better pack a lunch. “clock tower remmi.”??? “better pack a lunch.”???? ………..good defense is your offense” ? This nonsense from a Bozo who called me “uneducated”?
Property Taxed 2 Death May 26, 2012 at 09:07 PM
1st my apology to Manchester Patch. I did try not to stoop to the lowness of Ratzor, however sometimes a dose of their own medicine is exactly what they deserve. I treat everyone fairly until they insult me or call names or make fun of others as is and was the methodology of Ratzor. Althought it may not seem like it, I did really cut back greatly on my insults , but I had to say what had to be said. Ratzor, you started out insulting me, then fat people and now all the way down on Memorial Day Weekend to insult my fellow soldiers . You are a worthless punk who never was a Marine. They would have beat the stupidity out of you in Basic if you got that far. people like you don’t last long in the military because you are a JO. You have no manners, no respect and not a fly farts worth of intelligence. Try making valid points not using insults. No respect gets no respect you are the one guilty of everything you falsely accused me of and you are such a fool you obviously can not see that. Read your comments and you will see what type of person you are. You are a liar and impersonating a soldier that apparently never existed but is based on a real person because there are literally thousands of Sgt Lowes recorded as Veterans in all branches of the Service. I can understand you are wannabe but your insulting and low life comments toward others not involved in what you made into a dispute between you and I are unacceptable , so I have responded in kind
Oceancountycopblock August 20, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Another violation of peoples 4th Amendment rights. Welcome to the police state.
Oceancountycopblock August 20, 2012 at 10:45 PM
WELL SAID!
Oceancountycopblock August 20, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Assert your rights. Say no to big brother.
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress September 16, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Respect the law, and you need not fear the cameras. Respect the officers, because they stand a watch you never would. Not happy with the direction your government is taking? Stand up and do something about it - I am. That's my real name, and I am a real candidate in Your district, fighting for your rights, and for OUR Constitution. For example, we are in court to compel the recognition of the ratification of Article the First - know what that's all about? You would, but the media is afraid to cover the subject. NationalTruth.org has the lawsuit details, and the Federal Third Circuit court of appeals has the case as of Friday in Phila. ("LaVergne v. Bryson, et al", docket # 12-1171). Further, we have uncovered election shenanigans in the primary balloting, and are in court for that as of Friday, as well. Further, we spoke at People's Plaza on Independence Mall yesterday, where thousands of folks gathered to celebrate the 225th Anniversary of the Constitution. In front of everyone, we introduced the "Change the Rules" Pledge, a ministerial solution that can be applied beginning this January in the House AND Senate, preventing undue influence by special interests, corporations, and "PACS", which serves to disenfranchise "We, the People". The pledge is also available on NationalTruth.org. Download and send to YOUR incumbents, and to the other candidates - I already signed.
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress September 16, 2012 at 01:47 PM
https://www.facebook.com/FrederickJohnLaVergneForCongress?ref=hl is where you can find the details of what we're doing for Ocean County, and for New Jersey.
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress September 16, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Angry over the "Citizens United" decision? Don't change the "law", change the "rules".

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