License plate readers help locate Skyla Wilson
License plate readers over an interstate in Colorado spotted Michael Wilson’s vehicle and helped bring two-year-old Skyla Wilson back home.
High-tech cameras over an interstate in Colorado spotted Michael Wilson’s vehicle that ultimately helped bring two-year-old Skyla Wilson back to Tennessee.
They’re called license plate readers or LPR’s. They are mounted devices in patrol cars or stationary above the roads around the country.
Lieutenant John Harmon with the Tennessee Highway Patrol said interstates in our area have similar technology.
"When a trooper is driving down the road these readers are constantly reading license plates,” Lt. Harmon said.
It’s similar technology that played a role in the multi-agency traffic stop of Michael Wilson and his non-custodial daughter Skyla.
Even if the cameras don't get a full picture of a license plate, investigators say the system works with advanced algorithms to fill in the missing characters which can help bring back endanger children.
Police Chief Deb Funston with the Palisade Police Department said dispatchers were notified that Michael Wilson’s vehicle drove past a stationary LPR in Du Buque Colorado.
“Within that database is missing persons, stolen vehicles, wanted persons things of that nature,” Lt. Harmon explained.
LPR’s do record, but will only notify troopers if there is an active alert for a specific person or vehicle.
In Skyla’s case, an endangered child alert had been issued. Grand Junction Police said they received a call from the FBI that Michael Wilson’s vehicle was in the area.
Now Skyla is home in Tennessee, her family says they are overcome with emotion.
"I just want to say how grateful the whole family is and how much we actually appreciate everybody,” Skyla’s Aunt, Dana Stanecik said.
THP said Skyla’s case is a good example of how technology like LPR’s can make a big difference when every second counts.
"It’s rewarding anytime a law enforcement officer can find a loved one and get them back to their original loved ones,” Lt. Harmon said.