License Plate Readers Jan 25, 2014 1:52:23 GMT -5
Post by DontDentMyCar on Jan 25, 2014 1:52:23 GMT -5
Published on Jul 19, 2013
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - A new study by the American Civil Liberties Union has sparked a national debate about the use of license plate readers.
The report showed just how many law enforcement agencies in America use the readers to document every plate it sees.
The Grand Junction Police Department has two LPRs and have been using them in the community since 2010.
The recent ACLU study has reopened the discussion about privacy concerns.
"I don't like the idea, I'm not comfortable with it," said Brandon McConnell, a Grand Junction resident.
"If you haven't done anything wrong, there's nothing to worry about," said Tony Reyna of Grand Junction.
At the GJPD the portable cameras sit on top of patrol cars and will take pictures of all license plates as the officer drives along and it will alert them if the plate is on a car that was stolen or if there are any driving restrictions associated with it.
"The whole reason we got this system was to help aid our Auto Theft Task Force in locating stolen cars, that's the primary purpose for this and we have been successful," said Kate Porras with the Grand Junction Police Department.
Some people feel uncomfortable with the idea that their license plate and location is being documented when they haven't done anything wrong.
"I think we're losing our freedom in this country. I think the more technology, the more powerful the police force is," said McConnell.
GJPD officials say the information collected in the photographs is limited to only the plate number itself. The driver's name, registration or any other personal information is not available through the reader.
"An officer could be walking down the street, see a license plate and call it in and get a lot more information then they could if they were actually using the license plate reader," said Porras.
Reyna was a law enforcement officer in Texas before moving to Grand Junction, he said he fully supports the readers.
"Technology like this would have been handy when I was in law enforcement, definitely," he said.
Officers say there are more benefits to the readers than retrieving stolen cars.
"We have also used it just this week trying to find a missing person and we found that missing persons car was at the employers address, it's not something that we're trying to get out there and collect all this information on people so we can spy on them, it's simply to help us keep people safer," said Porras.
The photos gathered by the local LPRs are stored with a private third party company.
GJPD was not immediately able to tell NewsChannel 5 how long the footage is stored there, or if it is ever deleted.