NC bill would allow license plate readers along state roads

A license plate reader on the front of a cruiser. Photo by Amy Cutler/CBS North Carolina


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)  — For law enforcement. finding that one car involved in a shooting or AMBER Alert can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

But that’s where license plate readers can be invaluable.

“We can’t be everywhere and I say ‘we’ (as in) law enforcement,” Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.

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The Wake County Sheriff’s Office has two of the readers, mounted on cruisers.

Harrison said they’ve been incredibly useful. Raleigh police also use them.

Right now they’re only able to install the readers on city roads or private property. A new bill would expand that to state roads.

Rep. John Faircloth (R) Guildford sponsored House Bill 242.

“It doesn’t take a photograph of the person in the car or anything like that. But it picks up that license and it will immediately send it to all the spots,”  Faircloth said.

The readers alert officers on patrol in the area and in other areas that there’s been a match.

“I really don’t have concerns with it,” said Jerome Drayer of Willow Spring.

“I’m at this gas station there could be a camera on me now. If that’s the case, I’m OK with that,” Paul Norman of Raleigh said.

“No, I don’t want them to be able to just read my license plate anytime they want,” Carol Clontz of Fuquay-Varina said.

“If you’ll look right there those license plates, they’re open to the public and that’s the way we look at it,” Sheriff Harrison said.

There’s no sponsor for the bill in the Senate yet.

Faircloth said if it passes the House, he’s confident it will find a sponsor in the Senate.

If passed, the North Carolina Department of Transportation would need to approve agreements with law enforcement.

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