Concerns expressed with proposed police license plate reader

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 10:50 PM CST
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QUINCY (WGEM) - Some people who live in Quincy said they are concerned about the Quincy Police Department’s proposed license plate reader program.

They question how the pictures and data captured by the cameras would be stored, if it would invade their privacy and if it’s constitutional.

Monday night, Police Chief Adam Yates hosted a meeting to address those worries.

Yates said the department proposes placing 20 cameras around various parts of the city. He said the cameras will take pictures of license plates and are not designed to take pictures of people.

Yates said the photos gathered are stored for 30 days and are triggered when a license plate is run and it shows up in their database wanted because it’s stolen or was used in a crime.

Some aldermen said their constituents are in favor of the program, while others said they’ve had people who are not fully comfortable.

Residents who attended the meeting, like Jake Reed, said the cameras are needed.

“I do believe that it will reduce crime. My only concern is with the cameras becoming more widespread. I don’t know if I trust Flock Safety, the actual company,” Reed said. “They’re pretty new, they were started in 2017 and once they become more widespread nationwide, who will have access to that, like the FBI or something.”

Whitney Mintert said the presentation didn’t change her mind. It answered her questions.

“My only concern is the data security. We all know about data breaches that happen throughout the country and in the last few years,” Mintert said. “Just wanting to know more about how that’s handled, what it’s used for and I don’t think I got that out of the presentation.”

Yates said the City of Quincy will own the photos and they will not be sold to other parties.

This prompted another question from people in attendance. They asked, if police are in control of the photos, then what are the protocols in place to ensure data is being used properly?

Yates said it’s ethics. He said it’s up to police to handle the photos justly and if the audits show officers are not, they will face severe discipline and possible termination.

This proposal will go before city council. But before then, another public presentation will be held, Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 6 p.m. at the Quincy Town Center.

Proposed Camera Locations:

  • Memorial Bridge
  • Bayview Bridge
  • Gardener Drive at US 24
  • Broadway at 18th, 24th, 36th and 54th
  • Locust at 12th
  • Wismann at 24th
  • Highway 57 at RJ Peters
  • South 24th at Cherry Lane
  • Jefferson at 8th
  • Harrison at 36th
  • Chestnut at 5th

RELATED:

Civil rights experts provide clarity on how automatic license plate readers could affect your privacy rights

QPD to hold public presentation for new license plate readers

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