Truckee council approves automated license plate pilot program

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Truckee Town Council approved a one-year pilot program for automated license plate readers to be placed throughout town during their Tuesday evening meeting.

The Truckee Police Department, working with Flock Safety, will be placing 17 cameras at major ingress and egress spots around town. The solar powered, high definition cameras are about the size of a hand. They are self-heating so they can melt snow and still be used in the winter. 

The cameras will read license plates which can be used to locate stolen, wanted and subject of investigation vehicles, assist with investigations, detect vehicles associated with missing persons and detect vehicles associated with outstanding warrants. The cameras are activated by vehicles only, meaning if a person walks by the camera, it will not record the person. 

Leading up to bringing the program to council for approval, TPD held a public workshop. Privacy concerns were raised by citizens.

Police Chief Danny Renfrow mentioned several times during the presentation that the cameras do not have facial recognition technology. The cameras will not scan people in the car, just the make, model, color and license plate number of the car. 

Data is only stored for thirty days, then is purged. A representative from Flock Safety said each officer will be given a unique login key and their searches in the database will be tracked.

Renfrow also said the cameras can also be used to count cars, so the Town can have more accurate information about when and where the most traffic is, and how many cars are in town during an emergency. 

The cameras will take about 2-3 months to be installed, then will be up for a year. After that year, TPD will come back to council with a report on how the pilot went. 

Council member Anna Klovstad said that the presentation was long and in-depth but it needed to be in order to address concerns of citizens. 

“You built trust with me,” Klovstad said following the presentation. 

The council unanimously approved the pilot program. 

The meeting began with an overview presentation of the summer and winter microtransit pilot programs. 

During the summer pilot, up to seven vehicles operated from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. It cost $460,977 and served 19,556 passengers, with an average of 268 passengers per day. 

Nearly 90% of passengers were full-time or seasonal residents, only 10% of riders were visitors. Sixty-six percent of the trips were for social, recreation and dining purposes and 55% of riders said if there wasn’t microtransit, they would’ve taken a private car or Uber, Lyft or taxi. 

During the winter pilot, up to five vehicles operated from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. It cost $527,000. 

The daily ridership was up 22% over the summer pilot and the busiest hour was 8 a.m.

If the town was to offer permanent microtransit service, staff recommends running service year-round with up to nine vehicles. 

During winter and summer seasons, they recommend running service from 6:30 a.m. to midnight and during shoulder seasons, running service from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

It would cost about $1.9 – 2.6 million. Staff believes the town could eliminate the Dial-A-Ride service to help fund microtransit. 

On Thursday, Jan. 27, the council is having a priority planning workshop, during which they will discuss the future of microtransit. 

Council also approved an annual inflationary increase to the Truckee Fire Protection District’s fire protection facilities mitigation fee. Single and multi-family residential units will see a $.07 increase to $1.27 per square foot.

Industrial use buildings will increase to $0.96 per square foot, retail and commercial will increase to $1.34 per square foot and office will increase to $1.92 per square foot.

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.