If you're driving in Jones County without up-to-date tags and registration, you won't be driving for long. The Jones County Sheriff's Office just bought a new mobile tag reader that scans hundreds of tags a minute.
Managing traffic in Jones County is easier these days for Deputy Angel Feliciano. Feliciano operates the newly purchased Mobile Plate Hunter 900. A supped up cop car uses three high speed cameras and a computer database to pinpoint drivers who hit the roads illegally.
"This thing reads well over 1500 to 1800 tags per minute," said Feliciano.
The cameras can read vehicle tags traveling up to 150 miles an hour and about 25 feet away in either direction, day or night. In addition to finding suspended license, insurance and dated tags, the plate hunter can locate other alerts as well by inserting key words.
"We would put in a notation wanted for domestic violence lookout and once I'm going down the road and it hits that tag it make an alarm. Because if I'm going this way at 2 o'clock in the morning there's no way I can read a tag going that way," said Feliciano.
Captain Billy Mitchell says routine tag stops can reveal bigger crimes.
"DUI arrests, drug arrests, a lot of the drug people are not concerned with tags and insurance and stuff such as that," said Mitchell.
The plate hunter not only takes pictures, but it stores the photos for record. That makes convicting illegal drivers more likely in court.
"So people can't say oh that wasn't my tag. Well it's in the computer showing your tag, your vehicle, a photo of the vehicle. It takes two photos a black and white and a color photo," said Feliciano.
Time is valuable for law enforcement and so far this new technology is worth every penny.
"Out of that 5 that we do out of this car we might get one in a regular patrol car," said Feliciano.
Several Jones County deputies are trained to use the plate hunter. The department purchased the equipment about a month ago using confiscated drug money.