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How license plate reader technology found the car involved in a deadly hit and run in Riviera Beach

Posted at 10:35 PM, Sep 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-20 08:43:10-04

Welcome to Riviera Beach, where police are watching. 

“It gives officers, investigators, real-time information,” said Officer Ossel Harrison from the Riviera Beach Police Department about their license plate reader technology. 

Police used LPR to find the car they say was involved in a deadly hit and run Tuesday morning on the Blue Heron Bridge. Eugene Murphy Jr., 78, was killed. 

The car was found later that day in the afternoon. 

After the crash, witnesses gave police their best description of the runaway car -- a light colored late 1990s or early 2000s Lincoln sedan.

Using Riviera Beach’s camera network, an amount best described by Harrison as enough to catch the bad guys, he looked for the car when it first entered the city that morning. 

It turned out to be a 2003 Lincoln. 

“Rather than starting from A to Z, now you’re working with A to B only,” Harrison said about the truncated investigation. 

Once he was able to find the car, Harrison was able to glean a partial plate. He entered that into the system and let it go to work. 

“Sometimes when you're lost in your investigative capacity, you need something else to give you additional leads to get you to the next place. And that’s what this does,” he said about LPR.

Between 5 and 6 Tuesday afternoon, a hit on the plate. The hotlist, a screen that shows cars in question, lights up. In real-time it tells officers where the car is. 

“From that location, we can go directly and saturate the area with officers and investigate and look for the vehicle that was in question,” he said. 

The driver, Matthew Archer, didn’t go easily. He fled again, police said, and eventually stopped on 57th street in West Palm Beach where he was arrested on charges of eluding. 

“I know that as officers, it makes our life fulfilling to know that we can bring some information to our citizens that is worthwhile,” Harrison said. 

Archer is considered a person of interest as police try to determine if he was behind the wheel during the crash.

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