The Washington Post

D.C. region to get more license plate readers

The Washington region is getting about $1.3 million in grant money from the Department of Homeland Security to buy counterterrorism technology, including an expansion of its license plate reader program.

The Arlington County Police Department, which administers the grants, was authorized yesterday by the county board to accept about $1.1 million to buy additional license plate readers for the region’s police departments. In 2008, Arlington police got a similar grant and distributed 225 of the devices to area police agencies.

The tag readers scan license plates in real time, helping police pinpoint stolen cars, criminals and potential terrorists. The new grant will expand use of the technology and ultimately link the region’s police departments through a real-time database.

The Arlington Police Department is also is getting $250,000 to buy 10 more mobile counterterrorism surveillance trailers for police departments in the National Capital Region.

In 2008, the region bought 17 of the trailers, which allow police to remotely monitor special events, crime scenes and emergency or hazardous situations in real time from a central location.

The grants are part of the federal Urban Areas Security Initiative, which funds counterterrorism equipment and training for target-rich urban areas.

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