L.A. County Sherriff's Dept. Deploys Mobile Automated License Plate Readers

By PRESS RELEASE — December 16, 2008

Los Angeles County advances public safety with Federal Signal Technology
Integrated multi-jurisdictional database serves as surveillance platform for police

University Park, Ill. -- When the Advanced Surveillance and Protection (ASAP) Unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) needed to enhance public safety in the most populous county in the United States, they turned to Federal Signal to create an automated license plate recognition (ALPR) network that would gather data to help protect people, property and the environment around Los Angeles County -- every day.

Sgt. John Gaw of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department ASAP Unit notes, "ALPR from Federal Signal PIPS Technology is generating incredible results that go far beyond the recovery of stolen vehicles, which is the most commonly discussed benefit of the technology. The recovery of stolen vehicles, while important, is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the use of ALPR. The data collected by the system is incredibly valuable for investigations and has helped us in many cases."

The first three mobile Federal Signal ALPR systems were deployed by LASD in May 2007, and the system has grown to include twenty-five mobile systems and eleven fixed cameras throughout the County in a short period of time.  Since the initial deployment of the system, LASD has scanned about 15 million license plates, resulting in about 18,000 "hits," or vehicles of interest.  Based on these results, LASD has expanded use of the system to include additional mobile units and implementation at fixed locations.

BOSS takes charge to connect the dots
Recently, the Federal Signal ALPR network has assisted LASD in solving two key cases.  A serial rapist in South Los Angeles approached female pedestrians and forced them into his vehicle at gunpoint.  A victim obtained a license plate number and provided police with a vehicle description; however, the address for the registered owner of the vehicle was no longer correct.  With the help of Federal Signal's ALPR Back Office System Software (BOSS) by PIPS, investigators pinpointed prior vehicle sightings, which led them to the suspect's workplace.  The employer provided a cell phone number for the suspect, which enabled police to locate the suspect and make an arrest.

In another case, a shooting left one victim dead.  Witnesses provided police with a partial license plate and vehicle description.  A query of this data in the Federal Signal BOSS system provided investigators with a full license plate number which enabled them to identify the suspect.  Surveillance was established on the suspect's address, and the suspect was in custody less than 24-hours after the shooting.  The suspect was also wanted in connection with three other homicides.

Protecting citizens and communities
Sgt. Gaw added, "In addition to these two cases which involved the use of the Federal Signal BOSS system, the ALPR system provides a second set of eyes for our officers in the field, and has enabled them to identify vehicles wanted in connection with gang activities, homicides, assaults, robberies, narcotics and much more.  In many of these cases, our deputies have reported that they would not have noticed these vehicles were it not for the ALPR network."

The data sharing feature of the Federal Signal BOSS system by PIPS enables LASD to share data with numerous other law enforcement agencies in Southern California including, Glendora, Burbank, El Segundo, Glendale and Long Beach. 

Eric Conway, information systems manager for LASD's Advanced Surveillance and Protection (ASAP) Unit, comments, "LASD would like to further expand our data sharing model with other agencies throughout the state and region.  We see this as an important step to improving our ability to provide safety to Los Angeles and its surrounding communities."

Michael K. Wons, vice president and general manager of Federal Signal Corporation's Public Safety Systems Division, "ALPR provides valuable data that can be shared and used in many ways to improve enforcement, and enhance the public safety and security of our communities and our country.  We are proud to work as a team with progressive law enforcement agencies such as LASD."

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 three groups: Safety and Security Systems, Environmental Solutions and Fire Rescue.


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