About a month ago I happened to be outside my house in Queens at about midnight. I saw what looked like a cop car with license plate reading cameras drive by. Anyone have more info?
I live on a very quiet residential street, no through traffic at all. The car was a late-model Impala, black with tinted windows. Mounted to the roof on the front corners were two cameras, Shrek-style. The car did a normal-speed cruise down my block, and turned the corner. It's brakes did the you-need-new-pads squeal at the stop sign on the corner.
The obvious conclusion is that it's a cop car recording license plates, what I'm assuming were cameras were aimed roughly where plates of parked cars would be visible, down and out. Has anyone heard of something like this? I've seen no-camera Crown Vics around the area looking for cars to tow for parking violations, but the midnight-dash style of this was a bit suspicious.
I'm interested in both the legal questions, who is doing it and for what purpose and the technical ones, are the cameras IR, are they automatically OCR'd or just reviewed later by humans. I suspect it's similar to this
but the cameras were external and it looked like a parked-car scan rather than constant traffic monitoring.