In an article published today in the Connecticut Post, the Trumbull Police Department is identified as one of many police agencies in the country that is providing information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the purpose of a “mass surveillance program.”
He cites a recent report from the American Civil Liberties Union that identifies Trumbull, along with several other area police departments, that uses the License Plate Reader (LPR) system. This article provides inaccurate and misleading statements, and ignores the legitimate purpose that the LPR serves in law enforcement.
The LPR system is used for the enforcement of criminal and motor vehicle laws and violations, and well as the investigation of crimes of all types. A vehicle-mounted camera on a police car simply “reads” a license plate number. It should be clearly noted that:
1. The police department operates this system exclusively for law enforcement purposes;
2. The police department has agreed to share this information with other law enforcement agencies, for official purposes only;
3. The LPR does not identify, collect, or record the name, address or immigration status of any individual or driver.
In the time that it has been in use, the LPR system has been instrumental in the investigation of many crimes, including a recent assault and robbery that occurred in a local park, and a bank robbery that resulted in the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators. Trumbull Police Chief Michael Lombardo said, “The LPR has been a valuable tool, not only for identifying the everyday violations that are a danger to motorists on the streets of Trumbull, but for those very serious crimes where we need every means possible to assist in keeping our neighborhoods safe.”
The LPR system used in Trumbull is managed by Vigilant Solutions, a company that provides the hardware and electronic storage for the data that is collected by the license plate readers.