ACLU upset about license tag scanners

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Updated: 7/23/2013 9:06 am Published: 7/22/2013 5:28 pm

The American Civil Liberties Union is blasting law enforcement departments across the country for their use of license plate scanners.

The ACLU says departments are storing people's information.

FOX23 News has been looking into area departments that use the license plate readers and found Rogers County Sheriff's Office is about to get them.

Authorities there are getting the system as part of a package deal with their dash cameras and in-car computer systems in 19 new cruisers.

Betty Rogers is a paralegal and has mixed feelings on the license plate readers.

"You know, I think the law officers have a right to know what they're getting into, you know, when they're following somebody. People have rights. Not everyone's a criminal, you know what I mean?" said Rogers.

Capt. Jerry Smittle says they can be pretty handy.

"You go down the highway and read these things, drive through parking lots and you can find vehicles that are either stolen, or owners that may have a warrant out for their arrest," said Smittle.

While it hasn't arrived yet, he sees the department using it in a pretty defined role.

"You could go through, say the Hard Rock Casino, and just look at how many parked…you know, it's a huge parking lot. You can go through there and you can take care of an area real quick."

When it comes to how long the data is stored, Rogers is torn on that, too.

"I think that if they had it for a certain amount of time and nothing ever came up, then they should let it go. But if, you know, someone's been in trouble a lot, known for selling vehicles, or has a bad record, then they should keep it for as long as possible," she said.

FOX23 News found the readers store all license plate information in the officer's car for 10 days. It also automatically downloads to a server when they return to the sheriff's office and it's unclear how long it's stored there.

FOX23 found out a few departments in the area use license plate readers. Tulsa police do not.

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office beta tested them three years ago, but decided the technology wasn't good enough to justify the cost.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 7/23/2013 10:03 AM
0 Votes
Unwashed mass aka dirty sermon : just makes it up as he goes along. The most recent purchase of such equipment was made by the Shawnee PD. If TPD has one then it's a pretty well kept secret. The OHP has 9 of them statewide. They are using them on highways.

Unwashed Mass - 7/22/2013 11:34 PM
1 Vote
Tulsa Police actually have been using license plate scanners, just not on marked patrol cars. Every once in a while you can spot one of their black Special Investigations cars collecting information around town. One would suspect they arent just using it to track down people with unpaid tickets.

Mayor Maynot - 7/22/2013 8:56 PM
0 Votes
Bet notnear as upset as the folks who will be scanned.

Mayor Maynot - 7/22/2013 8:51 PM
1 Vote
No urgent need for that gizmo in this neck of the woods. Our jail is already bursting at the seams from individuals who neglect to buckle their probable cause.

karlschneider - 7/22/2013 6:38 PM
2 Votes
Aw, shucks, if yew ain't doin' nuthin wrong yew got nuthin t' worry bout, rite? Big broutter gonna takes reel gud CAIR of usn's...
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