ALPR Technology Hits the Street in Garden Grove

Orange County, California law enforcement agency makes mobile Automated License Plate Recognition technology a 'permanent' part of their preventive policing efforts

Oct 20, 2010, 10:47 ET from Federal Signal Corporation

UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Since its deployment in August of 2010, the Garden Grove, CA Police Department's mobile Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) system has already produced some impressive successes, including the recovery of three stolen vehicles. The dual-camera, lightbar-mounted system, provided by Federal Signal Corporation's PIPS Technology, records every plate encountered, and then uses sophisticated algorithms to translate those plate images into text for instantaneous cross-referencing against a "wanted vehicle" database. Officers are then immediately alerted via their laptops that the vehicle is of interest. All data is subsequently recorded to a SuperRex™ III processor located in the trunk of the patrol car.

David Young, Investigator, Garden Grove P.D., reports that in its first two months on the job the new ALPR system has already read upwards of 90,000 license plates, which led to action being taken by officers in numerous instances.

Replacing a portable ALPR unit that the department had been using for several years, Young points out that the new, permanently mounted PIPS Technology system features two cameras integrated right into the lightbar. In making the transition from a portable to permanently mounted ALPR system, Young emphasizes that "ease of use" and adaptability for potential data-sharing arrangements with other law enforcement agencies remained critical concerns with regard to the evaluation process.

"The permanently mounted Slate™ cameras are a significant upgrade over the portable ALPR unit we had previously been using," explains Young, adding that PIPS Technology met all their criteria for operational simplicity and expandability for future data sharing. "This mounting configuration gives us the confidence of knowing that the cameras will stay securely in place during high-speed pursuits and on rough roads," says Young. "Another advantage the permanently mounted system has is that it makes the vehicle appear as if it is equipped with a normal lightbar with conventional alley lights, thereby enhancing the stealth characteristics of the ALPR system."

Garden Grove's system relies on Federal Signal's Back Office System Software (BOSS™) to organize and archive the substantial amount of data that is being continually produced by the ALPR unit. The system spotlights an extremely user-friendly and intuitive interface, which allows patrolling officers to query the data against multiple search parameters, such as time, date, full or partial plate, location, user, etc. The system even permits users to track vehicle movement by mapping locations associated to a specific license plate.

In acknowledging the significance of the BOSS system's information-gathering and management capabilities, Young predicts that it is only a matter of time before Garden Grove will be collectively sharing data with neighboring police agencies that either employ ALPR systems now or soon will. In fact, the Anaheim Police Department has already submitted a grant to fund additional ALPR systems for police agencies throughout Orange County. Concurring with this strategy, Young believes that sharing data across jurisdictions has become a central element of effective preventive police work, and that agency to agency sharing of ALPR data offers significant potential in the years ahead.

Garden Grove currently has one patrol vehicle equipped with the Federal Signal PIPS ALPR system, but Young expects that several more vehicles will be similarly equipped within a short time. He adds that these additional ALPR units will most likely feature four cameras - two conventional forward-facing cameras angled at 45 degrees, and two cameras facing outward at 90 degrees from the police vehicle to facilitate scanning of parked cars.

"The robust PIPS system provides for both improved field enforcement of wanted vehicles, and enhanced proactive, preventive enforcement by enabling more intelligent investigations and data sharing across jurisdictions," says Matt Brady, VP of Worldwide Sales for Federal Signal's Safety and Security business. "As evidenced by agencies such as Garden Grove and others in the Orange County region, it's clear that the productive tandem of the PIPS system and BOSS software is continuing to build support at all levels of law enforcement--local, county and state."

About Federal Signal

Federal Signal Corporation (NYSE: FSS) enhances the safety, security and well-being of communities and workplaces around the world. Founded in 1901, Federal Signal is a leading global designer and manufacturer of products and total solutions that serve municipal, governmental, industrial and institutional customers. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., with manufacturing facilities worldwide, the company operates four groups: Safety and Security Systems, Environmental Solutions, Federal Signal Technologies, and Fire Rescue. For more information on Federal Signal, visit:

SOURCE Federal Signal Corporation