Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) 3.03.26

3.03.26.010     PURPOSE AND SCOPE

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.

3.03.26.11      POLICY

The policy of the Irvine 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.

3.03.26.020     ADMINISTRATION

The ALPR technology, also known as Automated License Plate Recognition, allows for the automated detection of license plates. It is used 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.

All installation and maintenance of ALPR equipment, as well as ALPR access shall be managed by the Support Services Commander. The Support Services Commander will assign personnel under his/her command to administer the day-to-day operation of the ALPR equipment and data.

3.03.26.030     ALPR OPERATION

Use of an ALPR is restricted to the purposes outlined below. Department personnel 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).

  1. An ALPR shall only be used for official and legitimate law enforcement business.
  2. An ALPR may be used in conjunction with any routine patrol operation or criminal investigation. Reasonable suspicion or probable cause is not required before using an ALPR.
  3. 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.
  4. No member of this department shall operate ALPR equipment or access ALPR data without first completing department approved training.
  5. No ALPR operator may access California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) data unless otherwise authorized to do so.
  6. If practicable, the officer should verify an ALPR response through CLETS before taking enforcement action that is based solely on an ALPR alert.

3.03.26.040     ALPR DATA COLLECTION AND RETENTION

The Support Services Commander is responsible for ensuring systems and processes are in place for the proper collection and retention of ALPR data. Data will be transferred from vehicles to the designated storage in accordance with department procedures.

All data and images gathered by an ALPR are for the official use of the Irvine Police Department and because such data may contain confidential CLETS information, it is not open to public review. ALPR information gathered and retained by this department may be used and shared with prosecutors or others only as permitted by law.

All ALPR data downloaded to the server should be stored for a minimum of one year per California Government Code §34090.6 and in accordance with the established records retention schedule. Thereafter, ALPR data should be purged unless it has become, or is reasonable to believe it will become, evidenced 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 downloaded from the server onto portable media and booked into evidence.

3.03.26.050     ACCOUNTABILITY

All data will be closely safeguarded and protected by both procedural and technological means. The Irvine 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):

  1. All ALPR data downloaded to the mobile workstation and server 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).
  2. Persons 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.
  3. ALPR system audits will be conducted on a regular basis.

3.03.26.051     RELEASING ALPR DATA

The ALPR data may be shared only with other law enforcement or prosecutorial agencies for official law enforcement purposes or as otherwise permitted by law, using the following procedures:

  1. 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
  2. The request is reviewed by the Support Services Commander or the authorized designee and approved before the request is fulfilled.
  3. The approve request is retained on file.

Requests for ALPR data by non-law enforcement on non-prosecutorial agencies will be processed as provided in the Records Maintenance and Release Policy (Civil Code § 1798.90.55).

3.03.26.060     TRAINING

The Training Manager should ensure that members receive department-approved training for those authorized to use or access the ALPR system (Civil  Code  §  1798.90.51;  Civil  Code  § 1798.90.53).