Wrightsville Beach police roll out new license plate scanning system

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - Police are rolling out a new system that scans the license plates of cars that cross the bridge into Wrightsville Beach. One of the units is mounted to a speed trailer. The other unit is attached to an officer's patrol car.

A camera checks the plates of those who drive by to see if the person driving the car is wanted for a crime or if they're driving a stolen car.

The information is immediately sent to laptops in officers' cars and they can respond immediately.

Chief Dan House said if the person driving the car has a criminal history, officers can also run surveillance on the person in an effort to prevent crime.

However, he thinks the system will act as a deterrent to keep bad guys from coming to the community.

"People know if they come here they are going to get caught," he said. "So, people who come here to enjoy our beach are going to come here and feel safe because the chance of them being the victim of a crime is less than what it would have been."

House said Wrightsville Beach is a perfect place to use the system, because there is only one way in and one way out of town. However, he said Raleigh Police also have the software.

When it comes to concerns that have been raised over privacy, he said there is no expectation of privacy with license plates.

He said they could do the same thing by having officers sit at the bridge and run plates. However, that would take a lot of manpower.

House believes having the system is like adding extra officers to the force.

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