Truckee Police to bring automated license plate readers to Town Council
TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Truckee Police Department will present a plan to implement automated license plate readers later this month to Town Council.
The program, which proposes installation of 17 fixed cameras on public roadways at a cost of $52,950 for initial implementation, will appear on Truckee Town Council’s Jan. 24 agenda.
Truckee Police held a public meeting on Monday regarding the automated license plate readers and have also posted to its social media pages, leading locals to voice concerns about privacy, efficacy, cost of the program, what will be done with the data, along with others fearing the theft of information following the cyberattack that hit Truckee in 2021.
According to Truckee Police, the data gathered would include license plates, vehicle make, model, color, and other unique identifiers. The cameras would not use facial recognition software and will not work with federal agencies for immigration enforcement purposes. Additionally, the cameras wouldn’t be used to spot speeding vehicles, track drivers with unpaid fines or expired registration.
Instead, the police department states the cameras will “provide the ability to give our officers real time notifications on alerts placed on specific license plates when detected.”
The cameras would be used in instances like Amber Alerts, stolen vehicles, Department of Justice stops, and as an investigative tool.
The cameras would also count cars, giving law enforcement officials a better idea of where and when they should place officers along with providing more information to aid in emergency preparedness and evacuation planning. Currently, Truckee has no reliable town-wide metric to gauge population accurately at any given time.
If approved by Truckee Town Council, the program will begin as a one-year pilot and will be implemented through Flock Safety. The 17 fixed cameras cost roughly $2,500 apiece. Other costs come in the form of permitting and installation fees. Existing grant funding will pay for the $52,950 program.
After a year, the results will be brought back to Town Council in order to determine if the program merits further use.
According to Flock Safety, communities using automated license plate readers have reported crime reductions of more than 70%. There are roughly 2,500 U.S. cities, including South Lake Tahoe, that make use of the technology. Flock Safety is in use at other mountain communities such as Vail, and Steamboat Springs.
Truckee Police and Flock Safety state that data will never be sold to third parties. The footage is fully encrypted, stored in the cloud, and then deleted after 30 days, on a rolling basis.
Truckee Police also believe the license plate readers will act as a crime deterrent, stating, “Criminals know and talk to each other about which areas are easiest to target, and which areas come with a higher risk of detection by law enforcement. As crimes get solved, and criminals get held responsible for their actions, the word spreads quickly. This technology isn’t supposed to be a secret. Law enforcement wants everyone to know about it.”
As far as officers accessing the system, Truckee Police said that an investigating officer would be required to log in with personal credentials and also provide a specific reason for accessing the information.
The Truckee Police Department will host a Coffee with a Cop event from 8-10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Coffee Bar, giving community members a chance to speak with officers ahead of the Town Council meeting at 5 p.m. later that day.
For more information on the proposed automated license plate readers, visit http://www.townoftruckee.com/home/components/news/news/6749/21.
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