Brawley Council approves Automated License Plate Readers for police

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A Brawley Police Department cruiser. Courtesy photo.

BRAWLEY — The Brawley City Council approved the use of Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPRs) by the Brawley Police Department at its September 5 meeting. During the public hearing portion, the council heard the benefits of the ALPRs program. It is set to begin this month.

The police department is joining other regional law enforcement agencies to implement the ALPRs. Nine marked patrol cars will be equipped with cameras that capture license plate information of vehicles, which can then be used in criminal investigations. This information will be routed to secure servers that are accessible only to authorized members of the BPD.

“The basics of it is they are small cameras attached to our police cars that scan license plates to a hot list of stolen vehicles and other vehicles associated with crime,” said Brawley Police Commander Brett Houser.

“This program has been very successful in other agencies,” continued Houser. “Stolen vehicles have been found, Amber Alert abductions have been thwarted, etc.”

There are strict limitations on the use of information and according to the city, the information will not be made public. Law enforcement agencies using the ALPRs must let the public know that they are using the ALPRs via their website.

No city funds will be used for the ALPRs program.The total cost for the entire project is $1 million, to which the city will contribute no local funds. The ALPRs program is completely funded by a federal grant, the FY2016 Operation Stonegarden equipment budget.