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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - The Grand Rapids Police Department now has the ability to scan thousands of license plates in one day, thanks to new technology. It's called Automated License Plate Recognition.

"We were out testing these and I had it out about a half an hour and the first day it got a stolen vehicle," says Sgt. Larry Poleski.

The new technology cost the city $95,000 to install on four police cars. 5,000 plates can be read, per shift.

Capt. Dave Kiddle says, "It does save the information into a database for one year. So, that will provide us with investigative abilities to go back and look if we were searching for a specific vehicle."

It's said to be a crime-fighting tool, but some might think it's an invasion of privacy.

"A lot of people think that it will give you a cascade of information, like 'Joe Thomas,' who lives at such and such address. It's not like that," says Poleski.

The system will alert the officer to a stolen vehicle, an Amber Alert, a felony warrant, or a vehicle with more than six unpaid parking tickets.

The technology is not fool-proof. The officer must verify the information. But, in some cases, if it is right, a crime could be solved.