ALPR Usage and Privacy Policy

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820.1 Purpose

To set forth the procedures for use of the Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) system and equipment conducted in the course and scope of providing law enforcement services as well as establishing use and data retention policies.

820.2 ALPR Usage and Privacy Policy

ALPR technology provides law enforcement with the ability to capture and store digital license plate data and then compare that data almost instantly against stolen vehicle lists, the countywide warrant system, and Be On the Look Out (BOLO) vehicles. In addition to comparing license plate data against electronic lists, the data can also be searched to aid in criminal investigations.

This policy governs the Automated License Plate Recognition System (“ALPR system” or “system”) operated by the Claremont Police Department, and applies to our employees and private contractors who have access to or use our system.

The ALPR system is a searchable computerized database resulting from the operation of one or more mobile or fixed cameras combined with computer algorithms to read and convert images of license plates and the characters they contain into computer-readable data.

The information contained in the system (“LPR data”) includes images of license plates, plus the date, time and location when the images were collected, as well as the license plate characters and numbers associated with the image.

The images stored in the system are collected from areas visible to the public where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. The collection and dissemination of the information contained in the system is protected activity under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Moreover, LPR data stored in our system does not include any personally identifying information (PII), or information which relates the license plate image to the driver or registered owner of a vehicle.  PII contained in vehicle registration information is protected by federal law (Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, Title 18, US Code, Section 2721 et seq.) and State laws.

Law enforcement and other users may have access to vehicle registration information, and other sources of PII, which they may correlate with LPR data stored in the system to create vehicle hot-lists in accordance with the above referenced federal law. All hot-list fields other than the license plate number itself are encrypted to protect any PII that may exist in these hot-lists.

820.3 Use and Collection of LPR Data

The Claremont Police Department authorizes collection of LPR data for the use of the department consistent with this policy. Authorized use of the ALPR system shall be searching and utilizing LPR data for law enforcement purposes only and may not be used for any other purpose.

820.4 Users and Training

The ALPR system shall only be accessed or used by sworn Police Officers, communications staff, City technology staff, or independent contractors hired to maintain the system, and all must be CLETS certified prior to access of the system.

Independent contractors shall at a minimum have been Livescanned and be free of any criminal convictions, and shall be required to sign a waiver acknowledging that they will not utilize LPR data other than for the work they have been contracted to perform.

All sworn personnel shall be provided training in the use of the ALPR system during the Field Training Officer Program. Communications staff shall be provided initial training in the use of the equipment and this ALPR policy.

This ALPR policy shall be reviewed by all sworn and non-sworn personnel with access to the system on an annual basis. No department personnel shall be given a username or password to access LPR data without being trained and having read the ALPR policy.

820.5 Monitoring and Compliance

LPR data is not subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act and shall be treated as confidential information. The following measures shall be taken to monitor the use of ALPR data and identify if data has been accessed by unauthorized individuals:

  • The date and time LPR data is accessed.
  • The IP address from which the LPR data is accessed.
  • The license plate number or other data elements used to query the system.
  • The username of the person who accessed the information and, as applicable, the organization or entity with whom the person is affiliated.
  • The purpose for accessing the information.

LPR database audits shall be conducted on a regular basis.

820.6 Sale, Sharing or Transfer of LPR Data

ALPR data may be shared with other law enforcement agencies, but this data is confidential and shall not be shared or open to the public for review. Agencies requesting ALPR data shall only be shared for official law enforcement purposes.

The agency requesting the data must make a written request that includes the agency, name of the person requesting the data, and the reason for the request. The request may be approved by the Watch Commander, Detective Bureau Lieutenant or a division Commander.

All ALPR data requests shall be forwarded to the Chief of Police’s Administrative Assistant who shall maintain a file of the requests. Requests shall be maintained in the file based on the department’s Records Retention and Management Policy.

The Claremont Police Department does NOT make the ALPR system or data it contains available to individuals for personal or commercial purposes.

820.7 Custodian or Owner of the ALPR System

The Claremont Police Department is both owner and custodian of the LPR data it has collected. A third party has been introduced in 2016, Vigilant. They are also custodians of the LPR data.

820.8 Accuracy of LPR Data

The department maintains both a mobile and fixed ALPR system. All LPR data access requires a username and password for access. When there is a return or match to a stolen vehicle, wanted person, or other database that license plate information is queried against, it is referred to as a “hit.”

Fixed and mobile system hits are displayed in the Communications Center and on vehicle devices that are logged into the ALPR system. If a “hit” on a vehicle license plate occurs at a fixed ALPR location, the dispatcher shall confirm that the plate is not a misread and then immediately broadcast the nature of the hit, the vehicle and license plate, and the fixed ALPR location to patrol officers. The dispatcher shall then run the “hit” through the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS), and broadcast the results to responding officers.

Officers utilizing a mobile ALPR system that receives a “hit” shall visually verify the license plate on the vehicle and confirm its status through CLETS (unless already confirmed by the Communications personnel). The LPR database is not in real-time, and this step is necessary to confirm the current status in CLETS and that the plate was read properly.

820.9 Retention

LPR data shall be retained for a period of two-years, at which time the LPR data shall be purged unless it is evidence in a criminal or civil action, or there is a reasonable likelihood that it will become evidence. In those situations, the data shall only be retained as long as it is necessary in the criminal or civil action. In those instances, consideration should be given to downloading the data onto a DVD and booking the DVD into evidence.