License plate scanner on a police car.By Victor Hill, CAPP

The first year I worked with license plate recognition taught me a valuable lesson in managing expectations with reality and the importance of empowering others. I managed a small campus parking operation–four full-time employees, including me, and student enforcement officers. We had high hopes for LPR and spent several years trying to convince our leadership that it was the right investment.

Then we got the approval and had to make it work. It did, right up until we found a problem we hadn’t really considered: improper parking, or vehicles parked across the lines. Luckily, the problem was already solved by the time it was brought to my attention, thanks to our enforcement officer. He adjusted a setting in the LPR software to make every vehicle it scanned come up as a hit. He then scanned the problem vehicle, got photos, and cited it.

The officer’s innovative solution was one of several that set the tone for operational adjustments to reconcile our expectations for LPR with the realities of driver behaviors on our campus. We were successful because we worked as a team. The officer and the front office staff were actively encouraged to look for creative ways to identify opportunities and solve problems. They were empowered to do their jobs and contribute to the success of the organization.

Are you?

We’ll discuss these ideas in my upcoming (free) Frontline Fundamentals session: LPR for Frontline Personnel, on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2 p.m. Eastern. I hope you’ll join me.

Victor Hill, CAPP, is an account manager at T2 Systems and was previously director of parking and transportation services for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.