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Police scanners read license plates

New Haven tax collector C.J. Cuticello explains how the city’s new license plate scanner works to identify tax cheats and scofflaws. Civil libertarians fear the devices may be used to invade people’s privacy.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – This city is among the first in the nation to use infrared scanners that read license plates on moving and parked cars, giving officials immediate access to a database of police and tax records in their hunt for criminals and tax delinquents.

The scanners cost about $25,000 apiece and come with laptop computers, an infrared scanning gun and other equipment. The system takes two people to run in the field – one to drive and the other to hold the gun, which can be aimed out a car window.

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