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Asharoken license plate reader to help spot trouble

Asharoken will receive a license plate reader from Suffolk County that will compare the plates from cars driving through the village with criminal databases, including active warrants, officials said.

Speaking at an April 7 village meeting, Village trustee and Police Commissioner Mel Ettinger said the device will notify law enforcement when matches are flagged for investigation.

"We're not doing anything with that information other than comparing it to a database that is provided to us by the Suffolk DA's office," he said. "This is for cars associated with people with outstanding warrants. . . . The camera will read the license plate and if it makes a hit with the database it will inform the police officer on duty who then can take appropriate action."

The device will be capable of reading about 2,000 license plates per day, with data retained until the hard drive is filled up. Officials said it would store about 30 days of information, then license data would be purged from the system.

Officials could not say when the scanner will be installed.

Originally the scanner was to be attached to a police vehicle, but officials said they want to post it permanently on or around the new village hall, which replaces a building damaged during superstorm Sandy in October 2012 and is under construction.

The scanner will come at no cost to the village, but officials at the Suffolk County district attorney's office didn't immediately respond to requests for additional details.

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