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Wilton Police Gain Approval to Buy New Gadget

WILTON, Conn. – One lucky Wilton police patrol car will get an extra piece of equipment this summer now that the Police Commission has approved the funds.

About $20,000 has been allocated to purchase a license plate reader. This piece of equipment, Police Chief Michael Lombardo said Monday, will be important in assisting to apprehend criminals.

“It allows us to do a lot of things,” Lombardo said. The reader, which can scan the plate of a car driving along a road, will determine whether a license plate has any "wanted" people attached to it or whether it is stolen. A suspended vehicle registration could also be discovered through its use. “It will only tell us if we drive by a car that was stolen.”

But some said the license plate reader might be considered an invasion of privacy.

“It’s just one more thing where people feel, 'I’m being recorded some place,'” said Commissioner David Waters.

However, the license plates are in public view, Lombardo said. He believes the state legislature will discuss the issue of the readers in the next session.

“I’m only concerned about, we spend the money and the legislature dials us back to where we are back at looking at the plate,” commission chairman Chris Weldon said. Lombardo called this scenario unlikely because police departments across the state have spent “a lot of money on this.”

Lombardo is looking at several companies to purchase the reader. The cost ranges from $16,000 to $20,000.

The money is coming out of two funds. A total of $5,400 will be used from an unallocated gift fund. Another $14,600 will come from the asset forfeiture fund. 

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