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UCM Parking Services Implementing Digital License Plate Reading for Improved Parking Lot Patrol and Management

By Jeff Murphy, August 31, 2023


Recently obtained by the University of Central Missouri Department of Public Safety, a 2023 Ford Maverick that is equipped with license plate digital reading technology will help the university move to a virtual parking permit system by next summer.

WARRENSBURG, MO – With plans to implement new technology to create more efficient, cost-effective parking lot patrol and management, the University of Central Missouri Department of Public Safety has obtained a new vehicle well equipped to assist in this effort. A step toward the future, Public Safety this summer purchased a hybrid 2023 Ford Maverick pickup with digital license plate reading capabilities that will be ready for deployment beginning Sept. 1.

“Our goal is to move toward virtual parking permits, and this will allow us to start working toward that process,” said James Krahenbuhl, a Public Safety Sergeant who will help make this transition.

The energy-efficient gray pickup with UCM graphic marks is equipped with a computer loaded with geo-fencing software that enables Public Safety to map out all university student, employee and visitor parking lots. Two roof-mounted cameras will handle license plate reading functions, electronically checking the plate numbers against those that are registered to university parking lot permit holders. The vehicle is primarily intended to be used to enforce parking regulations and not criminal activity. There may be times, however, when data collected could have value for investigation purposes.

While student employees in UCM Parking Services play a significant role helping to ensure parking is enforced, the Maverick should prove to be a valuable asset, according to Krahenbuhl.

“Instead of having our students walk through the parking lots checking for permits, this vehicle will be driven through the lots, and the cameras will read the license plates and communicate with our parking software to see if that vehicle has a valid permit,” he said.

Krahenbuhl noted that in cases where a vehicle with a UCM permit is in violation of parking policy, the software will generate an email that is sent to the UCM permit holder to inform them of the violation. In cases where the vehicle is unregistered, a traditional paper ticket will be issued at the location in which the vehicle is parked.

Captain Mike Papasifakis, assistant director of auxiliary operations and access control at UCM, said similar technology has been implemented at other colleges and universities around the state. He added that Parking Services will monitor the use of this new equipment over the 2023-2024 academic year with a goal to completely transition to virtual permits by the following academic year. This process, which is expected to save costs related to printing and distribution of permits, will begin with faculty and staff next summer. They will sign-up through the Parking Services portal on MyCentral. After doing so, they will not be issued a traditional permit that hangs from their vehicle mirror. Instead, their license plates that are registered with Parking Services will be the source of identification.

Papasifakis also noted that efforts will be made throughout the year to update parking policies so that they are consistent with using new technology. He encourages individuals who have vehicles that are no longer in use to check their vehicle information on the MyCentral Parking Services portal and delete those vehicles from the list of those that are assigned permits. 

For more information, contact Parking Services at or 660-543-4098.


As shown, roof-mounted cameras with license plate digital reading capabilities are placed on a new UCM Department of Public Safety vehicle that will be instrumental in parking lot management and patrol, beginning Sept. 1. 


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