Automated License Plate Reader Policy

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The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance for the capture, storage, and use of digital data obtained through the use of Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) technology.  The ALPR technology, also known as License Plate Recognition (LPR), allows for the automated detection of license plates.  It is used by the Montclair Police Department to convert data associated with vehicle license plates for official law enforcement purposes, including identifying stolen or wanted vehicles, stolen license plates, and missing persons.  It may also be used to gather information related to active warrants, homeland security, electronic surveillance, suspect interdiction and stolen property recovery.

462.2 POLICY

The policy of the Montclair Police Department is to utilize ALPR technology to capture and store digital license plate data and images while recognizing the established privacy rights of the public.  All data and images gathered by the ALPR are for the official use of this department.  Because such data may contain confidential information, it is not open to public review.

All installation and maintenance of ALPR equipment, as well as ALPR data retention and access, shall be managed by the Captain.  The Captain will assign members of the Montclair Police Department under his/her command to administer the day-to-day operation of the ALPR equipment and data.

The Captain shall be responsible for developing guidelines and procedures to comply with and implement the requirements of Civil Code § 1798.90.5 et seq. This includes, but is not limited to (Civil Code § 1798.90.51; Civil Code § 1798.90.53):

(a) A description of the job title or other designation of the members and independent contractors who are authorized to use or access the ALPR system or to collect ALPR information.
(b) Training requirements for authorized users.
(c) A description of how the ALPR system will be monitored to ensure the security of the information and compliance with applicable privacy laws.
(d) Procedures for system operators to maintain records of access in compliance with Civil Code § 1798.90.52.
(e) The title and name of the current designee in overseeing the ALPR operation.
(f) Working with the Custodian of Records on the retention and destruction of ALPR data.
(g) Ensuring this policy and related procedures are conspicuously posted on the Department’s website.

Members authorized and trained to access the California Law Enforcement
Telecommunications System (CLETS) are authorized to collect ALPR information utilizing department-approved resources within the course and scope of their assigned duties.

Any member authorized and trained to access CLETS may access the ALPR database and use ALPR information for a legitimate law enforcement purpose within the course and scope of his/her assigned duties.

Use of an ALPR is restricted to the purposes outlined below. Department members shall not use, or allow others to use the equipment or database records for any unauthorized purpose (Civil Code § 1798.90.51; Civil Code § 1798.90.53).
(a) An ALPR shall only be used for official law enforcement business.
(b) An ALPR may be used in conjunction with any routine law enforcement operation or criminal investigation. Reasonable suspicion or probable cause is not required before using an ALPR.
(c) While an ALPR may be used to canvass license plates around any crime scene, particular consideration should be given to using ALPR-equipped cars to canvass areas around homicides, shootings and other major incidents. Partial license plates reported during major crimes should be entered into the ALPR system in an attempt to identify suspect vehicles.
(d) No member of this department shall operate ALPR equipment or access ALPR data without first completing department-approved training.
(e) No ALPR operator may access department, state, or federal data unless  otherwise authorized to do so.
(f) If practicable, the member should verify an ALPR response through the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) before taking enforcement action that is based solely on an ALPR alert.
(g) Any member accessing ALPR information shall maintain a record of each access in compliance with Civil Code §1798.90.52.

The Captain is responsible for ensuring systems and processes are in place for the proper collection and retention of ALPR data. Data will be transferred, stored, and accessed in accordance with the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy and department procedures. All ALPR data downloaded to the server should be stored for a minimum of one year (Government Code § 34090.6) and retained in accordance with the established records retention schedule. Thereafter, ALPR data should be purged unless it has become, or it is reasonable to believe it will become, evidence in a criminal or civil action or is subject to a discovery request or other lawful action to produce records. In those circumstances the applicable data should be retained in the system or downloaded from the server onto portable media and booked into evidence.

All data will be closely safeguarded and protected by both procedural and technological means, and monitored to ensure the security of the information and compliance with applicable privacy laws. The Montclair Police Department will observe the following safeguards regarding access to and use of stored data (Civil Code § 1798.90.51; Civil Code § 1798.90.53):
(a) All APR data downloaded to the mobile workstation and in storage shall be accessible only through a login/password-protected system capable of documenting all access of information by name, date and time (Civil Code § 1798.90.52). A member shall only access the system utilizing his/her unique username and password.  
(b) Members approved to access ALPR data under these guidelines are permitted to access the data for legitimate law enforcement purposes only, such as when the data relate to a specific criminal investigation or department-related civil or administrative action.
(c) Members collecting or accessing ALPR data should monitor the performance of ALPR system to ensure the accuracy of the data collected. “Misreads” and other data errors should immediately be corrected and reported to the Law Enforcement System Supervisor.
(d) The Law Enforcement Systems Supervisor or his designee shall conduct periodic ALPR system performance tests to ensure the system is reading and recording ALPR data accurately.
(e) The Law Enforcement Systems Supervisor shall conduct periodic ALPR system audits of inquiries for evidence of unauthorized access and to ensure users are utilizing ALPR information in compliance with policy. The audits should include a sampling of data to ensure the accuracy of the ALPR information. Results of the audits shall be reported to the Captain as soon as practicable.   

ALPR data may be shared only with other law enforcement or prosecutorial agencies for official law enforcement purposes as described herein or as otherwise permitted by law. With the exception of requests made by other law enforcement agencies demonstrating an exigent need, ALPR data shall only be released using the following procedures:
(a) The agency makes a written request for the ALPR data that includes:
1. The name of the agency.
2. The name of the person requesting.
3. The intended purpose of obtaining the information.
4. The case number associated with the request when applicable.
(b) The request is reviewed by the Captain or the Police Services Supervisor or   authorized designee(s) and approved before the request is fulfilled.
(c) The approved request is retained on file.

Requests for ALPR data made by other law enforcement agencies demonstrating an exigent need shall be approved by a supervisor before the request is fulfilled. A record of the release documenting the name of the agency, the name of the person requesting, the intended purpose of obtaining the information, the case number associated with the request (when applicable) and the name of the approving supervisor shall be entered electronically into the system and retained as part of the data file/audit log.
Requests for ALPR data by non-law enforcement or non-prosecutorial agencies will be processed as provided in the Records Release and Security Policy.

The Support Services Lieutenant should ensure that members authorized to use or access the ALPR system receive department approved training which minimally includes:

(a) Review of department policies and procedures related to the collection and use of ALPR information.
(b) Legitimate purposes for accessing the ALPR database and allowable uses of ALPR information.
(c) Authorized operators and users.
(d) ALPR system security and privacy.
(e) Database log in and access utilizing the member’s assigned username and password.
(f) License plate verification (misreads) and procedures for correction.
(g) User’s responsibility to review and report misread license plate reads.
(h) Procedures for documenting the reason for accessing ALPR information.
(i) ALPR information release restrictions and procedures for release.
(j) Audits and statistical reports (for system administrators only).