The San Diego Police Division is advertising the use of clever streetlights and automatic license plate recognition technologies to conduct investigations and enhance police response and public security.

The new technologies are proposed to be integrated in the city’s Surveillance Ordinance, which demands City Council approval for technologies utilised to track and recognize people.

If the city ultimately adopts the Intelligent Streetlight and ALP Recognition technologies, annual reports detailing their intended use will be needed. A newly designed privacy advisory board will also have to sign off on and oversee police use of new technologies.

Capt. Jeff Jordon, of the SDPD Chief’s Workplace/Legislative Affairs and Specific Projects, gave in depth public presentations explaining the want for and advocating police use of the new clever street lights and ALP recognition technologies.

“We are holding meetings to collect public feedback and comments that will be translated into a neighborhood influence report that will be presented to what is now recognized as the Privacy Advisory Board,” Jordon stated. “The PAB will be tasked with listening to this facts and saying this is a excellent concept – or rejecting it – in its suggestions to the City Council.”

The Intelligent Streetlights project started as a expense-saving work by the City to replace power-intensive streetlights with extra effective LED lights. Several of the three,200 clever streetlights installed in public spaces across the city had been also equipped with sensors utilised to produce processed information such as pedestrian and automobile movement, along with parking activity, as properly as typical environmental measures of temperature, stress and humidity.

The use of information from Intelligent Streetlights started in 2018. But the practice was suspended soon after two years of use in 2020, due to legal issues that its use could violate privacy rights.

“From the police department’s point of view, the Intelligent Streetlights and ALP Recognition technologies are actually effective tools,” Jordon stated, adding, “but they raised all sorts of issues simply because policies and procedures for their use weren’t instantly created.”

Jordon noted that the SDPD has 125 beats covering 350 square miles. He stated police had been studying exactly where 500 clever streetlight cameras could very best be deployed to “have the greatest instant influence on crime”.

In the two years that police have been permitted to use Intelligent Streetlight information, Jordon has noted that there have been clear instances exactly where hunting at the information has solved crimes. He cited 1 instance exactly where a downtown homicide captured by a Intelligent Streetlight camera confirmed that a man accused of murder in the shooting was really acting in self-defense.

As for the ALP readers, Jordon noted that they “take a snapshot of the license plate which tells us the make and model of the car or truck.” But he added that ALP readers “do not say who the driver is or the registered owner or who the passengers are. In brief, it does not give us personally identifiable facts.”

Jordon stated ALP readers had also proved valuable. “There is been a lot of use for us in utilizing that information to recognize suspects,” he stated, adding that ALP recognition is also utilised in databases to search for stolen cars or in Amber Alerts to search for missing or kidnapped kids.

The use of new Intelligent Streetlight and ALP Recognition technologies may well also enable address SDPD’s ongoing staffing shortage. “We at the moment have around 1,850 officers in the City,” noted Jordon. “We are the second-lowest employed division, behind only San Jose, for a city of extra than 500,000 individuals.”

By Editor

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