DeSoto County tag reader on the lookout

DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — Alicia Barbee says it seems as if cops are everywhere these days.

”It’s just ridiculous, I mean, you’ve got a cop sitting at every corner,” she said.

Now, it’s not just cops.

A $39,000 Homeland Security grant has brought an odd-looking contraption to DeSoto County.

It reads car tags, which Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Macon Moore says is especially useful for Amber Alerts.

”We use ‘em to solve burglaries, we apprehended a stolen vehicle yesterday, which puts us up to 13 or 14 since this has been in service,” he said.

He added it works fast. They’re in hidden spots all over DeSoto County.

Once the tag reader gets your tag’s snapshot, it sends it through the national crime database. If the computer gets a hit on a law violation or a report, it sends the information instantly to a dispatcher’s screen in Hernando.

From there, dispatchers, who know where the tag scanner is located and can dispatch a deputy in minutes.

”It never sleeps, it never calls in sick, it works 24 hours a day, basically it’s on watch,” Moore said.

And to those who fear it’s an invasion of privacy, Moore says like it or not, cameras are everywhere these days, and officers use public and private cameras to solve crimes all the time.

”If you’re doing something wrong and it’s punishable by law, it’s going to be found out, one way or the other,” he said.

Now it seems as if folks will get found out even sooner.


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