Police pushback on bill banning license plate reading cameras hinders investigations

February 20, 2024
1 min read


Police departments in Missouri are using license plate readers to aid in crime fighting, but a bill proposed in the State Senate would ban their use. The technology has been crucial in making major arrests, but concerns about privacy and government intrusion have led to pushback from some officials. The bill allows the use of mobile license plate readers but bans stationary cameras.

Article Summary:

Police departments in Missouri are increasingly relying on license plate readers to assist in investigations and track down criminals. The cameras use artificial intelligence to read license plates and input the data into a database for use by law enforcement. In St. Charles County, license plate readers, also known as ‘Flock’ cameras, have been instrumental in making significant arrests, including apprehending a bank robbery suspect and ATM robbery suspects from Texas.

Lt. Tom Wilkison of the St. Charles City Police Department credits license plate readers for their success in tracking down suspects and believes that without this technology, investigations would be hindered. However, a bill proposed by Senator Mike Cierpiot seeks to ban the use of license plate readers by police departments, citing concerns about privacy and data usage.

While some officials, like Councilmember Joe Brazil, express worry about government intrusion and the extent to which these cameras will be used, others, like George Ravens of the St. Ann Police Department, stress the importance of license plate readers in solving crimes and bringing justice to victims. The bill would allow the use of mobile license plate readers while banning stationary cameras, with data being deleted after 30 days.

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