License plate reader spots stolen vehicle in Niceville, 2 suspects arrested

Two weeks ago I reported on the new license plate readers from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. As you can imagine, there were mixed reviews on the new public safety technology, mainly centered around privacy.

  • Yesterday, these license plater readers helped locate a stolen vehicle that led to the arrest of two suspects. 

Around 8:00a.m. on Wednesday, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a stolen vehicle. The vehicle information, including the license plate, was entered into the Florida and National databases as stolen. 

Shortly after 2:00p.m., Niceville Police Officers were alerted that the stolen vehicle had passed by a license plate reader in the City. With this information, officers were able to locate the vehicle and all of the occupants. 

  • The juvenile driver of the vehicle was arrested along with a passenger that had an outstanding warrant through the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. 

“Without the technology of the license plate readers, it is very likely that the vehicle would not have been recovered and returned to the owner, especially less that 7 hours after the report was made,” wrote the Niceville PD in a press release. “Situations like this are the reason we decided to install the license plate readers.”

As for the privacy concerns, the Niceville PD addressed the topic:

  • “The license plate readers are not in place to track your every movement as we have read on social media,” wrote Niceville PD. “The license plate readers do not have the ability to tell on you for speeding or running a stop light and you will not be mailed a ticket if you do so in the proximity of a license plate reader.”

According to the PD, the new system is installed to catch criminals, locate missing persons, and aide investigations such as the homicide that occurred last month.

To read more on the new system, click here.

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