Police Blotter

The Alameda Police Department (APD) are seeing early success on its newly implemented automated license-plate recognition program.

APD reported earlier this month they have collected 15 stolen vehicles in the city due to the new resource since its implementation in December 2014. Officers have lauded the technology for its convenience and thoroughness. The devides haven’t just helped officers collect stolen vehicles and identify stolen license plates, APD said the program helped locate a missing and allegedly suicidal person. 

The Alameda native was hiding in a vehicle and planned to overdose on medication, according to police reports. An APD officer put the vehicle through the system and discovered that one unit had scanned the plate earlier that day. The person was taken to the hospital after being discovered by officers.

The City Council unanimously approved spending up to $80,000 to equip four patrol cars with the automated license-plate recognition system at the council meeting on May 20, 2014. Three cameras are placed on top of the vehicles equipped with the technology. It allows them to register hundreds of license plates per minute on moving and parked vehicles, according to a memorandum. The collected information includes a photo of each plate, GPS coordinates and the date and time the image was captured. 

There was controversy during the open forum session of the program’s ordinance as several Alamedans voiced concerns the program undermines people’s privacy. APD said they will keep the records of non-stolen vehicles for just six months. 
Livermore-based license-recognition company, Vigilant Solutions, supplied APD with the devices.