APD LPR Policy

Licence Plate Reader Information

The Anderson Police Department works in cooperation with the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (HIDTA) which provides our department with LPR’s and training. Below you will find the policy that regulates this agreement:

Central Valley California (CVC) HIDTA

Internal Operating Procedures (IOP) Manual


SUBJECT: Operating Procedures and User Agreement for the Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) Program

REFERENCES: Sacramento Sheriff’s Department Vigilant Systems Car Detector User Manual; California Civil Code § 1798.90 et. Seq.

SUPERSEDED MATERIAL: CVC IOP OPS 1.0, Operating Procedures and User Agreement for the Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) Program, issued January 13, 2016

SCOPE: All Users of CVC HIDTA ALPR Program

EFFECTIVE DATE: February 15, 2019

REVIEW DATE: February 2021

I. Background:

Originally developed in the United Kingdom during the 1970’s, automated license plate recognition is a surveillance methodology that uses cameras and optical character recognition software to collect, organize, interpret, store and share license plate and other visual images. Law enforcement agencies use this technology to record movement and locations of vehicles and individuals for intelligence and investigative purposes. The CVC HIDTA provides funding to a fiduciary agency to make this capability available to HIDTA initiatives through a contract with Vigilant Solutions, a law enforcement support and security company headquartered in Livermore, California.

II. Definitions:

A. ALPR (Automated License Plate Reader): a system utilizing cameras and computer hardware and software to capture digital images of vehicle license plates and other alpha numeric identifiers. ALPRs may be stationary or mounted on vehicles.

B. LEARN (Law Enforcement Archival Reporting Network): the proprietary web- based interface developed by Vigilant Solutions to query ALPR data, input records, and manage user access.

C. ALPR Administrator: the person within the CVC HIDTA responsible for approving and maintaining user access, oversight of equipment inventory, and liaison with Vigilant Solutions.

D. ALPR Operator: the person operating a vehicle equipped with a mobile ALPR.

E. LEARN User: a person, typically a law enforcement officer or intelligence analyst assigned to a CVC HIDTA initiative, who has been granted access to LEARN.

F. Detection: the term used in LEARN to describe the record created when an APLR captures a license plate number or other relevant alpha numeric identifier. The detection may include a color image of the vehicle, an infrared image of the license plate, the license plate as read and interpreted by the system, a time/date stamp, GPS coordinates, and information identifying the APLR making the capture.

G. Hot Plate: the term used in LEARN to describe a record of a license plate that is of interest to law enforcement. Hot Plates are entered manually by LEARN users.

H. Hot List: a list of vehicle license plates that are of interest to law enforcement compiled by individual agencies or entities, which may be shared between agencies through LEARN by mutual agreement. Such license plates are typically associated with wanted or missing persons, stolen vehicles, protective orders, suspected terrorist activity, or other serious criminal activity.

I. Hit: notification to a LEARN user that a Hot Plate or a license plate on a Hot List has been the subject of a detection by an ALPR.

III. Policy Statement:

A. It is the policy of the CVC HIDTA to provide ALPR technology only for official law enforcement purposes, with the goal of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of its public safety efforts in a manner that safeguards the legitimate privacy concerns of law abiding citizens. CVC HIDTA assigned or affiliate personnel may use the ALPR and LEARN systems for official use only. Any Hits or matches received from the ALPR must be verified before enforcement action is taken. ALPR data that is not considered intelligence and investigative information shall be retained for a maximum of two (2) years.

1. ALPRs shall be used only by authorized personnel who have been trained and certified in the use of the equipment pursuant to CVC HIDTA and parent agency requirements.

2. LEARN shall be used only by authorized personnel who have been granted access by the APLR Administrator.

3. No person shall use or authorize the use of any ALPR system or any ALPR database information for any reasons other than official law enforcement purposes.

4. Receipt of a Hit alert does not establish probable cause. In the absence of exigent circumstances, the Hit information/data must be confirmed and contact made with the agent noted in the Hit record prior to taking any law enforcement action.

5. Disclosure of the existence of, or information derived from the ALPR program should be avoided when appropriate and practicable. Investigators should consult with prosecuting attorneys on occasions when ALPR program information may be used in affidavits, grand jury testimony, or other documents or proceedings.

6. ALPRs shall be deployed only in places open to the public where the ALPR and ALPR operator are lawfully present. ALPRs shall not be used to capture images in constitutionally protected areas.

IV. Roles and Responsibilities

A. General Use

1. ALPR systems shall be deployed for official law enforcement purposes, including, but not limited to:

(a) identifying vehicles suspected to be associated with illegal activities, vehicles associated with locations and suspects under investigation, establishing travel and parking patterns of suspect vehicles, locating wanted or missing persons, etc.;

(b) canvassing areas surrounding recent crimes to capture vehicle license plates that may be connected to the crime scene or locations suspected of illegal activity; and,

(c) other uses not defined by this policy approved and documented by an appropriate CVC HIDTA Commander or parent agency supervisor.

B. ALPR Administrator

1. Shall ensure all ALPR system equipment is inspected, at minimum, on an annual basis during annual internal reviews.

2. Shall coordinate training for all users of the APLR and LEARN interface, subject to availability of training.

3. Shall conduct periodic (quarterly) audits of authorized users of the LEARN system to ensure:

(a) access to the ALPR system is restricted to only those personnel demonstrating a continuing need for it; and,

(b) Hotplate and query records sufficiently document the justification (case number, reason) for the Hotplate entry or query of license plate record.

4. Shall respond to sharing requests and manage sharing data.

C. ALPR Operators

1. Must obtain written approval from a HIDTA Initiative Commander or parent agency supervisor prior to operating ALPR equipment. This approval shall be documented on the User Agreement (Appendix A).

2. Must complete basic ALPR training provided by the user’s parent agency, a CVC HIDTA participating agency, or PlateSearch© 101 (available via webinar through www.vslea.org) prior to operating ALPR equipment. Completion of this training shall be documented on the User Agreement (Appendix A).

3. Shall ensure the ALPR cameras are properly affixed to the assigned police vehicle prior to starting their shift and inspect units for damage or excessive wear.

4. Upon discovery of any ALPR equipment that is inoperable or damaged, the operator shall immediately notify the ALPR Administrator.

5. Operators shall not attempt to modify or repair ALPR equipment.

6. Prior to use, shall visually ensure that all system indicator lights located at the top right of mobile data computer screen are green (camera(s), LEARN, GPS and System).

7. Shall conduct a search of their detections through LEARN at least once per shift to ensure the system is working properly.

8. Shall acknowledge receipt of and compliance with this policy by signing the user agreement (Appendix A) and submitting it to the ALPR Administrator.

D. LEARN Users

1. Must obtain written approval from a HIDTA Initiative Commander prior to being granted access to the LEARN system. This approval shall be documented on the User Agreement (Appendix A).

2. Must complete basic ALPR training provided by the user’s parent agency, a CVC HIDTA participating agency, or PlateSearch© 101 (available via www.vslea.org) prior to being granted access to the LEARN system. Completion of the training shall be documented on the User Agreement (Appendix A).

3. Agree to use LEARN and ALPR technology only for official and legitimate law enforcement purposes. Any misuse of APLR technology or information derived from it will result in denial of access and referral of the matter to the user’s parent agency.

4. May research and enter vehicle license plates of interest, addresses and other information appropriate and necessary to pursue investigations.

5. Agree to contact agent (when requested/needed) listed in hot plate remarks when notice of a detection or Hit is received.

6. Shall coordinate and de-conflict license plate numbers in common interest with personnel from other CVC HIDTA initiatives and agencies.

7. Shall input case or other reference data (justification) when performing a search in the LEARN system.

8. Shall acknowledge receipt of and compliance with this policy by signing the user agreement (Appendix A) and submitting it to the ALPR Administrator.

E. ALPR Hits

1. When an alarm is received alerting operators of a positive Hit from the Hotlist database, a digital image of the license plate will be displayed on the mobile data computer screen.

2. LPR operators shall compare the digital image of the license plate to the Hotlist information to verify the Hit for both the state and characters on the plate.

3. ALPR Operators shall confirm the ALPR information by radio or cell phone to immediately confirm the Hit prior to taking enforcement or other type of police action (absent exigent circumstances).

F. Verified, Positive ALPR Hits Resulting in Arrest

1. When an arrest occurs as a result of an ALPR Hit, the ALPR operator will notify the case agent listed in the Hot List or Hot Plate record and coordinate as necessary.

V. ALPR Data

A. Internal Data

1. All ALPR data downloaded to the server will be stored for two (2) years (California Government Code § 34090), and thereafter will be purged unless it has become, or it is reasonable to believe it will become, evidence in a criminal or civil action, or is the subject of a lawful action to produce records. In those circumstances the applicable data should be downloaded from the server onto portable media and preserved as evidence according to the policies and procedures of the appropriate parent agency.

B. Sharing Data

1. All detection data generated from CVC HIDTA ALPR systems will be shared with requesting law enforcement agencies who utilize LEARN. Hot Plate records will generally not be shared outside CVC HIDTA agencies.

C. Hot Plate

1. Hot Plates added to the database will expire after 30 calendar days. Hot Plates are generally entered with Hit alert distribution to one agent (the agent with interest in the license plate). Hot Plates with Hit alert distribution to more than one agent must be approved by the initiative commander and shall contain the following information:

(a) any officer safety concerns, listed first in the description area;

(b) name and contact telephone number of agent responsible for entering the Hot Plate;

(c) associated case number;

(d) nature of originating interest, to include suspected criminal violations;

(e) action requested by Officer, i.e. do not stop, attempt to ID drivers/passengers, etc.; and,

(f) any other information considered relevant by the entering agent.

2. Commanders approving the entry of Hot Plate records into the ALPR system will ensure they are as descriptive as possible.

3. Any Hot plates entered into the system without the required information may be deleted from the system by the ALPR Administrator. The entering agent will be notified if this occurs.

4. Officer(s) alerted to the fact an observed motor vehicle’s license plate is entered as a Hot Plate may be required to make a reasonable effort to confirm that a wanted person is actually in the vehicle before the officer would have a lawful basis to stop the vehicle.

VI. Other Applicable Policies, Procedures and Regulations

Nothing in this IOP replaces, supersedes or countermands the policies, procedures, rules, or regulations of law enforcement agencies participating in the CVC HIDTA. All users of CVC HIDTA-funded ALPR equipment and systems are required to be aware of and adhere to their parent agency’s policies and procedures, as well as the requirements set forth in California Civil Code § 1798.90.5 et seq.