Timmins police aim to buy licence plate reader to identify suspended drivers on the road

Const. Chris Gauthier of the Timmins Police Service said he's noticing an upward trend in the number of suspended drivers on local roadways.

He said since November 2020, there are approximately 2,400 suspensions in the city, including people who have expired permits, are caught driving stolen vehicles or are unlicensed.

"They’re either more prone to collisions, more aggressive driving, which is why their licence was suspended in the first place,” Gauthier said.

And that's why he pitched a new piece of equipment to administration. It's a licence plate reader and the OPP and local police in Sudbury are already using them. Gauthier said it's a fantastic tool.

“There’s multiple cameras," he said. "They’re consistently scanning licence plates. It can do about 1,800 a minute and it’s essentially just cross-referencing all those licence plates to a database which is attached to the Ministry of Transportation.”

Officials said it's got a price tag of about $32,000 and it's been included in next year's proposed Timmins Police budget.

The Timmins Police Services Board has just approved it, along with several other requests, such as adding four more officers.

“Timmins police is confronting a serious issue as far as officers off on long-term illness, so we are entertaining all sorts of measures to return these officers to the workforce," said police spokesperson Marc Depatie.

"But it’s a process and in the meanwhile, we have to be mindful of the reality that our call for service volume is extremely high."

The proposed $17 million budget must now get approval from Timmins council.

Officials said they also want to improve the organization's computer system and surveillance cameras, and they said it's also time to upgrade the machine used to test suspected drunk drivers.