Within the month, Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Dan House said the Automated License Plate Recognition System should be installed and operational. House said the manufacturer has completed the system design and construction, and that the only thing left is for the system to be installed. One of the ALPRS units will be installed in the Wrightsville Beach Police Departmentís mobile speed trailer and another will be installed in one of the departmentís vehicles. House said the benefit of installing the system in mobile units is that the WBPD will be able to place them wherever they want instead of the location being fixed.
With the ALPRS, the WBPD will be able to pull from license plate databases to flag the vehicles of people who the department will want to keep an eye on while they are on the beach. House assured that the system would not be used for every violation motorists could incur on their record.
"Back when we first started looking into this system everyone was worried that every violation that came over the bridge is what we are looking for, and that is absolutely not what we want because about every third car on the road has an insurance stop or has a registration violation and our system would blow up," House said. "We are not looking for this to be a substitute for traffic enforcement; we are looking for this to be for that violent offender ó that person that we want to know is here and we want to know what they are doing."
The two ALPRS cost a total of $36,000 and were purchased through a federal grant to the WBPD that amounted to $186,000. The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen voted to allocate only a portion of the entire grant to the purchase of the system, but House said he acquired permission from the board to use more of the grant money to update the Mobile Data Terminals in the squad cars to be compatible with ALPRS.
"The board only opted to spend part of the money for the system so we asked them if they would be willing to spend some more of the grant money to update our Mobile Data Terminals in the cars to be compatible with the system," he said. "Now that we are going to use the grant for this the town will have to provide a match, which Iím guessing will be around $5,000 or $6,000, but we will save $20,000 in what the project would have cost so it will be huge savings for the Town of Wrightsville Beach."
House said it would be a couple of months before the WBPD could acquire the new Mobile Data Terminals because he has to present the plan to the board at its August meeting for its approval.