East Palo Alto Unveils License Plate Readers To Fight Crime

EAST PALO ALTO (KCBS) _ The East Palo Alto Police Department is about to join other agencies in the Bay Area by adding a high tech tool to fight crime.

License plate readers will be mounted on two East Palo Alto police cars and will be able to scan as the cars move, gathering license plate data, up to 360 degrees.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

“We hope to reduce our auto thefts, increase our recovery for stolen vehicles and also identify other vehicles that are associated with other crimes,” said East Palo Alto Police Captain Carl Estelle.

Estelle said the funding for the scanners comes from the Department of Justice.

“We won’t have them installed and put out onto the streets until we develop a policy first,” he said. “We have to make sure that we’re using this correctly. We want the public and the citizens to know we’re using this in the proper manner.”

One key question for privacy advocates is how long is the data stored? Several large city auto task forces already use the scanners, as does San Mateo County.

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