The four small cameras blend in with the overhead lights on top of Macomb County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Elsey’s patrol car.

But the little infrared devices can do big things — capturing the license plate numbers of passing cars and continuously running them through a database, letting Elsey know if there is a “hit” on a possible stolen car or wanted suspect.

While license plate readers aren’t standard equipment for law enforcement agencies, their use is growing in Michigan and in other states. Grant money often helps agencies buy the systems, which can cost $10,000 to more than $20,000. The readers can be affixed to vehicles, bridges, overpasses and at border crossings

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Are License-Plate Scanners A Great Cop Tool Or An Invasion Of Privacy?

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