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Police traffic stops

Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
1,011
Location
NYC Metro
#1
This is something I have been wondering for a while. Most police units have computers installed within the vehicle, yet you constantly hear units calling in plate numbers to a dispatcher during traffic stops. I'm wondering why this information is not available to the officers via the vehicle's computer. It seems archaic that they have to tie up the dispatcher to look up and relay this information via radio. Many times when the dispatcher is busy they tell the unit calling in that they have to wait. Is there a particular reason this information cannot be made available by the unit's computer? I listen to Montclair PD a lot and at times these guys are calling in plate numbers every 5 minutes.
 
Joined
Apr 18, 2009
Messages
1,088
Location
CT
#2
This is something I have been wondering for a while
I'm not familiar with this department, but I know what you're asking.

Perhaps a particular unit is not equipped with a PC or does not have access or permissions to all databases necessary to get the required info about the stop.

Here in CT, State Police works that way. Sometimes the trooper has the time to get the info, sometimes he's tied up on the stop and just calls it in. YMMV.
 

robertpearsall

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Jun 30, 2007
Messages
376
Location
Edison, NJ
#5
There are reasons the plate is called in it let's dispatch know where you are and with just In case something goes wrong.A lot of departments also time the stop to ensure officer safety you may hear a dispatcher say your in the red are you ok another thing is trying to type and watch a computer screen is not a easy ting to do at a higher speed
 
Joined
Apr 18, 2009
Messages
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CT
#8
In CT, the dispatcher will say, "Code B?", meaning "Sensitive Information - are you alone?" (Expired, Suspended, Warrant, Restraining order, etc.)

When the Trooper is alone, he'll respond "Code B".
 
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
1,011
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NYC Metro
#9
Maybe so dispatch will know who the officer is with, what the location is, and a vehicle description with number of people in the car
Yes I get that, but what I'm saying is why can't the unit just call in to dispatch and say they are doing a stop. Why do they have to read out the plate number, make the dispatcher look up all the registration information, and then the dispatcher has to relay all that information back to the officer via radio. Some of these smaller towns only have 1 dispatcher, especially at night. So you might have someone calling in to 9-1-1 and the dispatcher can't answer because they are on the radio reading vehicle registration info. The most logical scenario seems to be that the police unit would call into dispatch with the general info (traffic stop, X location, occupied X times). The officer can then sort out any vehicle registration information via computer, then radio back to dispatch once they are clear from the stop.
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2006
Messages
65
Location
Washington Boro NJ
#10
Calling in the plate number, vehicle description and stop location is standard operating procedure in most jurisdictions primarily for officer safety. Agencies may also require the reason for the stop, number of occupants, ethnicity and sex of the driver and type of enforcement action for record keeping and statistical information at the agency and officer level. Requesting lookup data on the license plate over the air when the cruiser is outfitted with the ability to do so is something else, and may be done by the officer for expediency purposes or to allow him or her to concentrate more on the actions of the violators.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 6, 2008
Messages
2,697
Location
New York North Carolina and all points in between
#12
Quote"
Especially when more and more PD's are going to plate readers in their cars so EVERYONE's plate gets a 'lookup'.

Incorrect, what happens is there is a daily upload of scofflaws and wants for the departments state loaded into the on board computer. The system could never handle that kind of traffic of reading and running every plate it sees, and that's why there are so many false readings, as when the reader tags an out of state plate that has the same number letter combo of a scofflaw or wanted.
BTW it is defeatable.
 

phask

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Dec 19, 2002
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3,014
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KZZV - SE Ohio
#14
In my neck of the woods, both the County Sheriff, Ohio State Hiway Patrol and my local PD all have MDT and use them for all info. requests. Also used for dispatching, on location, call status etc. Most (maybe all) have GPS as well.
We have a large county by area and 1st or 2nd in the number of rural roads in the state. SO uses the GPS a lot, they can all see where other units are as well.

That said, just like your PC - they don't work 100% of the time. I hear log in issues, rebooting, etc. Also - no coverage issues.

I hear less and less over the air, but I still hear license verification and checking of warrants and some SSN in the clear.

Now the small 'burgs usually radio in everything (SO dispatch).
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2002
Messages
10,231
Location
Taxachusetts
#16
And as you indicated the info is uploaded, so it is out of date and not running LIVE Real time NCIC / State transactions


Quote"
Especially when more and more PD's are going to plate readers in their cars so EVERYONE's plate gets a 'lookup'.

Incorrect, what happens is there is a daily upload of scofflaws and wants for the departments state loaded into the on board computer. The system could never handle that kind of traffic of reading and running every plate it sees, and that's why there are so many false readings, as when the reader tags an out of state plate that has the same number letter combo of a scofflaw or wanted.
BTW it is defeatable.
 

DJ11DLN

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Mar 23, 2013
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Mudhole, IN
#18
They do it here too, it is an officer safety thing. The MDT may or may not update everything so the Dispatcher can see it so they call it in. Several agencies equipped with MDT's also often have the Dispatcher run the tags on stops, I think that is for accountability. I am way out of date on this but it used to be that every time a tag was run, there had to be an officer ID and a reason attached to it and if you didn't, you would get a nastygram from the state. Do it too many times and you lost your IDACS/NCIC privileges.

And of course for common sense sake, if you wanted to run a tag before making a stop, would you call it in or try to type it while driving? Kind of hard to explain to the boss why you plowed your vehicle into the suspect vehicle at a school bus stop.
 

iMONITOR

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Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Messages
6,316
Location
MACOMB, MI.
#19
This is something I have been wondering for a while. Most police units have computers installed within the vehicle, yet you constantly hear units calling in plate numbers to a dispatcher during traffic stops. I'm wondering why this information is not available to the officers via the vehicle's computer. It seems archaic that they have to tie up the dispatcher to look up and relay this information via radio. Many times when the dispatcher is busy they tell the unit calling in that they have to wait. Is there a particular reason this information cannot be made available by the unit's computer? I listen to Montclair PD a lot and at times these guys are calling in plate numbers every 5 minutes.
 

iMONITOR

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Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Messages
6,316
Location
MACOMB, MI.
#20
Years ago there was a lot of officers (and others) abusing the LEIN system. Looking up plates and related info to find out where an a-hole lived, or a cute girl, a neighborhood nusance or road-rager that the locals wanted to deal with rather than have the police handle it. This was especially true with the Detroit, Michigan police department. I think going through dispatch gives them a better filter and accountability of those using LEIN and the reasons why.
 
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