Dallas Police Will Soon Have License Plate Scanners

Categories: City Hall

automatedlicenseplatescanner.jpg
Via.
DPD's automated license plate recognition equipment will look something like this.
Dallas police will soon be able to run your license plate through state and federal crime databases without ever lifting a finger.

This morning, the City Council approved DPD's $3.2 million plan to equip some of its squad cars with automated license plate scanners, which can check up to 1,800 plates per minute in real time to see if a car is stolen, associated with a missing child or senior citizen, or is owned by somebody with an outstanding warrant.

Angela Hunt was the councilperson to vote no.

Appearing before the council, Brown touted the cameras as a key tool in DPD's overall crime reduction strategy. The department plans to target 14 high-crime areas, with 14 cameras mounted at specific intersections, with two mobile units, which will be mounted on squad cars, going to each of DPD's seven substations.

The crime-fighting benefits of the scanners, which are already being used in places like Arlington and Fort Worth, are fairly obvious. So are concerns about civil liberties. Such systems collect huge amounts of data, most of which involves ordinary civilians. How long the data is kept and with whom it is shared depends on the agency.

"A big part of any crime fighting technology, there's a homeland security component," Brown said. "It could be shared with the federal government because of a homeland security issue. The case that comes to mind is the Murrah building bombing. That was a traffic stop because of an alias ticket."

The ACLU has expressed concerns about such practices. Last year, the group sued the federal government in an attempt to figure some of that out.

And Hunt honed in on the civil liberties questions, asking how long data would be stored (three to six months for non-criminals), whether it would scan cars parked on private property (no, but mainly, it seemed, because DPD wouldn't direct the cameras toward private property), and whether the technology doesn't allow law enforcement and the federal government to access information they would otherwise need a warrant for.

"Here, we're talking about when we don't have any reason of suspecting anyone of doing anything ... My concern goes into fishing expeditions," she said.

Mayor Mike Rawlings at first suggested sending the measure to the council's Public Safety Committee, but seemed appeased by Assistant City Manager A.C. Gonzalez's pledge that the scanners won't be used until the city develops policies designed to protect privacy.

"If we use this right and protect privacy, Dallas will be safer," Rawlings said.


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29 comments
Sabin Geyman
Sabin Geyman

Can the police scan our hearts? That is the province of Jesus the Christ, who is KING of kings and LORD of lords. As the worldwide dragnet gets underway, make no mistake, Jesus is still the Way, the Truth, and the Life, Saviour and Lord. No matter what international posers may come our way, Jesus is still the Way. Check out my new book, Testing the Spirits: Exposing Dark Sayings & Embracing the Light of Jesus, for a vigorous defense of Christianity and strong discussions on national security, prophecy, China and Israel.

DirtyP1
DirtyP1

Any guess on how the company that sold this system to DPD pitched it? I'm guessing they said that 3.2 million would be recovered in ticket and warrant revenue within _____ months.

Wilson
Wilson

Does everyone knows how this technology really works? It basically goes like this--mobile (observation decks) and stationary (highways cameras) are set up around the city to record every license plate they see.

Hot plates (stolen cars, warrants, unpaid fines, unpaid tolls, unpaid meter) get flagged and sent to nearest available agent for possible arrest.

The rest of the cameras' plate information are sent back to a data-bank and aggregated. Now they punch in a license plate number and get a picture of one's driving patters, location, speed on a given day/week/month. Regardless of one's guilt/innocence. (Don't worry; it all gets erased in 6 months. Trust them.)

Nobody's going to argue against using this kind of Plate Scanning technology if it helps end an Amber Alert successfully or shuts down a giant mafia organization. The problem is it's not designed for that. Plate Scanning is used for intelligence operations: Gathering Intel, pattern-grids, unofficial census-taking, vehicle-monitoring, etc. And Intelligence operations of these kind are used in counterinsurgency (COIN) warfare, as most recently seen in Iraq post-2007 to successfully prevent another Vietnam.

There are limitations to COIN as it translates to domestic police strategy. Namely, the police are not the military. Citizens should be able to trust them and not fear a Big Brother apparatus.

choderus
choderus

Man, they're sure making it hard to be a rapscallion anymore.

FEDUP
FEDUP

NOW now,  these MORON DPD officers need time to talk on their cell phone (provided by the city in most cases) to their girl friend, mistress, boyfriend, drug dealer, and bookie so anything that would actually make them better police officers (law abiding themselves) would help. OH that's right; were talking about DPD were the only difference between them and a criminal is the uniform and a badge!

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

Giving the DPD a new toy is like giving a toddler a chain saw

Lisa Tufts
Lisa Tufts

Tickets you may not owe and weren't fair? Yah I'll get right handing my hard earned money over for those! Thanks for the advice man!

Shannon Adolph
Shannon Adolph

Dallas is behind the times. San Antonio has had those for about a decade.

Adam Kennedy
Adam Kennedy

Pay your tickets and they won't pull you over for paperwork crimes.

Lisa Tufts
Lisa Tufts

Ever notice how police show up after a rape, robbery, car theft ... to take notes? That's b/c police don't prevent crime. They are information reporters who wrote tickets to generate revenue. This is one more "collection" tool for the real sharks in the water. Down with the police state!

Lisa Tufts
Lisa Tufts

Wow, so Dallas' finest can continue to harass avg citizens for paperwork crimes as they attempt to go about their daily business all in an effort to ticket more people more frequently further burying families under fines for minor infractions INSTEAD of serving and protecting? Yay?

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

Like there really is enough  manpower on the streets to make this work  .

Cindy Watts
Cindy Watts

Funny, this kind of data gathering has been around for more than 10 years. Dallas is a bit behind.

John Viramontes
John Viramontes

catching crooks is the way to go, but what if one has an outstanding parking ticket? would that be a reason to get pulled over?... DON'T TAZE ME BRO!

Tray Day
Tray Day

This is how "Minority Report" started

Andy Morris
Andy Morris

maybe automate it to constantly scan for stolen vehicles and such

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

They should smarten up the software to recognize kids on bicycles and alert the cop stop and kill himself instead of the kid.

NewsDog
NewsDog

If we use this right and protect privacy, Dallas will be safer," Rawlings said.

If we use this right?  This is Dallas, they never use anything right.

A member of DPD would never use this to check (harrass) the owner of a car parked outside the ex's home woulld they?

script
script

H.R.74

 Traffic Stops Along the Border Statistics Study Act of 2013

 Sponsor: Rep Jackson Lee, Sheila [TX-18]

jmckee3
jmckee3

This has the potential to be real fun for some people, a while back I was pulled over, detained and had my car searched by the Irving Police Department because a non-existent warrant in Fort Worth for a traffic ticket, the whole thing lasted 30-40 minutes before they let me go without any citation as I had not broken any law nor had an arrest warrant just because they randomly ran my plate.

How many people are going to be pulled over and detained because of errors or unpaid tickets issued to other people driving the car that they had no knowledge of? What about rental cars that have received tickets?

I'm on the fence about this for stolen cars, AMBER or silver alerts, maybe people that are wanted for very serious crimes but if this is going to be about revenue generation by attempting to get people with minor traffic warrants that are not currently committing any moving violations that they would otherwise be pulled over for I am totally against this.

DavyCrockett
DavyCrockett

This technology is already being used by repossession companies all over the country.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

I'm willing to bet that a lot of the license plates in some areas don't match the vehicle ...

roo_ster
roo_ster

The usual multi-million dollar hardware fix to a training problem.  And DPD could sure use more/better training.

Also, I think we need to relegate the license plate to the dust bin of history.  The gov't has no business knowing that much about you, from a distance, without you having committed some crime witnessed by a LEO.  If they really want to know just whose auto that is, come on up and run the VIN.


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