Cleveland to purchase additional units for Ohio Homeland Security Region II
In 2010, Cleveland Public Safety initiated a pilot Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) program on behalf of the five counties in Ohio Homeland Security Region II (Lorain, Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, and Ashtabula) using Homeland Security and federal stimulus Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant funding. The City of Cleveland is committed to the program’s mission of sharing vital information across jurisdictions and giving law enforcement viable technology to further our regional capabilities. As such, Cleveland Public Safety is working to expand the program with the purchase of another 12 units for deployment to additional regional agencies requesting ALPR.
The Automated License Plate Reader program is designed to assist law enforcement in seeking stolen vehicles or any license plate tagged with an alert, such as those linked to felony warrants or Amber Alerts. ALPR uses high-speed cameras and computers to compare license plates to criminal databases. When a match is made, an alarm sounds and the officer can choose the appropriate response such as monitoring, towing or stopping the vehicle. Each agency will still follow their own protocols for response but ALPR provides another tool for officers and deputies on the street and assists them in searching for plate numbers while driving.
Participating agencies can take advantage of the ALPR program’s key component: information sharing. The combined database can be mined for common denominators, patterns and geographical searches of identified plates. The information is valuable to all agencies but can also save lives and reduce crime when used to share critical information across jurisdictions.
The initial program began with the purchase of 17 mobile units and one fixed unit. Seven of the mobile units were deployed in Cleveland neighborhoods and the other 10 units were deployed with Cuyahoga County suburban law enforcement agencies and the Sheriff’s Offices of Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain and Geauga Counties. The success of the initial pilot has led to expansion of the program to include 52 Automated License Plate Readers spread throughout all five Region II counties, including all of the County Sheriff’s Offices and the most populated cities in their respective counties. The additional 12 units will increase the total to 64 units throughout Region II.
With the decrease of Homeland Security Grant funding, the Urban Area Working Group Law Enforcement Sub Committee has worked with the Region II Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program committee to continue the regional focus of the ALPR program as well. The new Cuyahoga County Regional Enterprise Data Sharing System (REDSS) Team has also furthered the partnership by taking over the management of the project. Collectively, our regional Public Safety partners are continuing to set the bar for intelligence-led policing strategies and vital regional information sharing platforms.