Local company to provide officers' unblinking eyes - FOX 13 News

Local company to provide officers' unblinking eyes

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Law enforcement will have another tool to keep an eye on the crowds at the RNC -- license plate recognition software.

John Chigos, founder of Platesmart, an Oldsmar based company, says his technology will be used at the upcoming convention.

"We will have so many individuals in the Tampa Bay area and Tampa is, as you know, pretty spread open. And so to cover Tampa Bay, security-wise, is going to be quite difficult. So our products are going to be used in a covert manner by an undisclosed agency."

He can't say which agency will use it. But he says it'll be deployed on the streets and in parking lots around the Forum, Convention Center, and other parts of the Tampa Bay area.

The software can be installed on any Windows-based PC. And it's used with any existing security cameras. So Chigos says it's a fraction of the cost of other LPR equipment.

The company has been designing and testing it for eight years.

"As the car goes through the viewfinder, the software is looking in this scene and picking out the license plate -- identifying the characters, the numbers, and the state," explains Randall Raszick, system engineer for Platesmart.

Then, using their law enforcement databases, officers are alerted when the system picks up on someone with a suspended or revoked license. It can also find individuals with felony warrants. Or police can make up their own local hot list.

For the Republican National Convention, that could mean looking for cars that have shown up at previous conventions.

Platesmart says the system has a 90 to 95 percent accuracy rate.

"It can capture more cars in a few minutes than an officer could capture in a day," Chigos added.

From the time the camera takes the picture and registers the information on the computer screen, it's less than the blink of an eye.

The software has been tested in low light and in rain.

Representatives for the company say there's no constitutional issues with their software because they are viewing information that is already available publicly.

For more information, go to www.platesmart.com.

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