The Wheaton Police Department will soon begin using Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) as a tool to help identify vehicles driven by people suspected of criminal activity and locate vehicles associated with missing persons, Amber Alerts or individuals in crisis, while protecting the privacy and rights of all people.
ALPRs are high-resolution cameras that take a picture of the back of vehicles as they pass through the field of view. The image captures the vehicle make & color, license plate and time the vehicle passed by the camera. It DOES NOT capture information about the occupants, track people, measure vehicle speed, or enforce traffic/parking violations. The cameras are not capable of recording video or facial recognition, and the technology is not connected to personal identifying information.
Why is the Police Department using Automated License Place Readers (ALPRs)?
Seventy percent of all crimes committed involve an automobile. License plate numbers give law enforcement objective, actionable leads needed to solve and prevent crimes. ALPRs will be used as a resource for a retroactive search to help solve crimes after they have occurred. They will also be used to help locate individuals in emergency situations, such as finding vehicles associated missing and endangered persons.
Data Security & Protecting Your Privacy
The City of Wheaton owns the images associated with ALPRs and the data is fully encrypted. None of the data collected by the ALPRs will be sold or shared to any third-party entities outside of law enforcement or with federal immigration agencies. All data collected will be deleted after 30 days if the registration is not part of an active investigation.
The Wheaton Police Department has a strict department order outlining officers’ retrieval of data from the system and its subsequent application. All data retrieval activity is recorded and can be internally audited.
ALPRs will serve as another tool supporting the City Council’s Community Safety Strategic Priority, leveraging technology to prioritize the safety and welfare of our community.