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Richard Piatt ReportingUtah now has technology that will allow police to track down stolen cars ten times faster. Even though there are only four units in the state right now, it is already proving to be useful in more than one way.
Sergeant Curtis Stoddard of Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement regularly searches for stolen cars. It's part of his job. But it can be tedious driving around, running license plate numbers manually. Now a device is changing his job. It's a monitor attached to four cameras on his vehicle; it has infrared sensors that can capture dozens of license plates a minute.
Curtis Stoddard, Utah Motor Vehicle enforcement: "As an officer it makes things a lot easier. I could only search a couple dozen plates per hour. With this system, I can search three thousand."
A lot of times car thieves ditch cars in parking lots. If a police officer wants to search for a car, he has to go car to car to car. This is much faster.
Curtis Stoddard, Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement: "Once the plate goes through the system, it finds the high alert."
A high alert vehicle could be one that was stolen or that's been tied to another crime. In the case of an Amber Alert, for example.
Dane Wood, National Insurance Crime Bureau: "If there's an abduction or an Amber Alert, the system will search for a plate number of the vehicle involved much faster than an individual could."
Utah's Motor Vehicle Enforcement division has four of the 25-thousand dollar units right now, each paid for by either federal or grant money.