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Police Department gains new tool to beef up enforcement

Date: 5/2/2011

May 2, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

LONGMEADOW — Say cheese.

The Longmeadow Police Department announced on April 22 that it will receive a grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to purchase an automated license plate reader (ALPR).

According to a release by the Police Department, it has received a $20,000 share of a $500,000 grant funded by the National Highway Safety Commission. Twenty-six grants were distributed throughout local communities.

"This gives us in law enforcement an amazing and productive tool to identify criminals and dangerous drivers without needing to wait for them to commit other violations," Longmeadow Police Capt. John Stankiewicz said in the release.

Stankiewicz told Reminder Publications the ALPR device purchased would be mounted to a cruiser and deployed 24 hours a day.

Stankiewicz declined to comment further on the ALPR, except to say the device will be at the department's disposal by mid-May and hoped to be able to host a demonstration on the many uses of the equipment at that time.

The ALPR, a camera-like system, can read and recognize up to 1,000 license plates an hour and gathers information and informs officers of motor vehicle registration violations, unlicensed drivers and other violations by comparing information against the Criminal Justice Information System, Stankiewicz said.

The department will also use the device in assisting with AMBER alerts, as well as detecting registered sex offenders in school zones.

"We believe this system will be an enormous asset, making it much easier to take people who shouldn't be on our roadways off our street," Stankiewicz stated.

State Rep. Brian Ashe, a Longmeadow resident and member of the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, praised the Longmeadow Police Department for securing the grant.

"I was extremely happy to see Longmeadow receive this grant. Longmeadow has always had an outstanding police force from the chief all the way through the ranks. This grant will allow the department to work even more effectively and proficiently," he said. "Grants such as these are hard to come by and I was honored to play a role in this process. I know that the town of Longmeadow has had to make many difficult budget decisions with all departments and this grant will benefit all residents either directly or indirectly."

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