License search

Mono County launches automated license plate readers

Mono County Sheriff Ingrid Braun requested and the Board of Supervisors approved the implementation of an automated license plate reader system at key locations as well as in the sheriff’s patrol cars. Funding will be through a Homeland Security grant.

“The systems capture a contextual photo of the vehicle, an image of the license plate, the geographic coordinates of where the image was captured, and the date and time of the recording,” according to the documents from Agenda. Braun explained that LPRs are widely used in urban areas, but his department will be the first in the Eastern Sierra to use the system.

She highlighted the fact that LPRs are just a valuable “data capture” mechanism to recover
stolen vehicles or missing persons. The information captured is based on a “need to know, not a right to know,” requiring a law enforcement reason before it can be accessed. Access is through a password protected system.

The information available does not include any personal information. Registrants
The vehicle’s owner can be accessed through a separate, secure state database, “which is restricted, controlled and audited,” according to the Diary File material.

For obvious reasons, Braun would not disclose the exact locations where LPRs
would be put in place, simply that they would be in all the main corridors, highways 395, 120 and 6.

During the public comment period, one appellant strongly objected, referring to overbreadth,
totalitarianism and violations of the 4th (unreasonable search and seizure) and 5th (due process) Amendments.

The strongest argument for using LPRs came when Braun told the Council if the system
was in place in the Chalfant area the night 16-year-old Karlie Guse disappeared three and a half years ago, the sheriff’s department could have accessed valuable information.

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