License plate scanners may help collect fines in Dallas County

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by CRAIG CIVALE / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on April 19, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 19 at 11:21 PM

DALLAS — Dallas County Constables are testing license plate scanners to see how well they work to help collect unpaid fines.

The technology is currently used by sheriff's deputies to track stolen cars, but some constable offices are looking to purchase it for their offices.

The cameras are hooked up to a patrol car and snap pictures of license plates that are compared to the county's scofflaw database. If the system finds a violator, an alarm goes off.

There are thousands of offenders in the system, and more than $50 million in unpaid fines.

"We want them to know there is a consequence, they need to take care of their tickets," said  Gene Forester, Precinct 4 deputy constable.

Constables have been testing the equipment over the last week. In one eight-hour shift, it found 38 violators with more than $30,000 in unpaid fines.

The system would cost the county around $10,000 for each unit. Constables believe the gear would pay for itself with the unpaid fines it brings in.

Constables plan on gathering the data and presenting it to Dallas County Commissioners in the coming weeks.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

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