A bill to limit and expand law enforcement's use of license plate readers passed out of a Virginia House subcommittee, sparking questions during a debate about the age-old dance between government overreach and public safety.
The use of automated license plate readers (ALPRs) is becoming more common, as they are used to track the movements of individuals. ALPRs are devices that are placed on police cars, private security vehicles, and other vehicles. They are used to scan the license plates of vehicles that pass by, and then store this information.
That technology also powers a surveillance system, alternately called an enforcement list, black list or Law Enforcement Notification System. Police agencies can request the addition of specific plate numbers or transponder signatures to a list, which sends real-time notifications when those vehicles are detected passing through.
The Lake County Commission has approved a proposal forwarded by Lake County Sheriff Peyton Grinnell that will see 108 automated license plate reader cameras placed around Lake County. The cameras will read license plates from vehicles traveling through intersections throughout the county, and transmit them to a database, with the results showing if vehicles that are being searched for by local, state, or federal authorities are traveling through the county.