California Cops Launch ALPR Transparency Portal

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Police in California are sharing information on their usage of Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology in a unique stab at transparency. 

The Piedmont Police Department (PPD) in Alameda County is the first to launch a public ALPR Transparency Portal that reveals information on their technology policies, practices, and usage to the public.

Via the Portal, the department can communicate directly with the communities it serves. Citizens can use the system to access stats on the PPD's ALPR usage, data retention, and access policies.

The data is supplied through anonymized audit logs, with the aim of allowing for transparency and accountability without compromising privacy.

Data displayed includes the number of cameras the agency owns, the number of vehicles captured using ALPR, and other law enforcement agencies that the PPD shares its data with. The portal also shows the number of Hot List alerts and how many searches have been performed in the previous 30 days. 

“The Piedmont Police Department strives to provide transparency on all police activities, policies, and practices, and Flock Safety’s Transparency Portal is another positive step in that direction,” said Piedmont Police chief Jeremy Bowers. 

“We recognize that the public has a right and responsibility to understand how the officers who are sworn to protect and serve them do their jobs." 

He added: "The opportunity to be the launching agency partner on this first-of-its-kind program underscores our deep commitment to openness, accountability, and integrity.”

The Transparency Portal public safety operating system was created by Flock Safety, which provides the Piedmont Police’s ALPR camera system. 

Flock Safety, which operates in 40 states and more than a thousand cities in America, provides hardware and software solutions aimed at solving and reducing crime. It currently works with over 600 local law enforcement agencies in the United States.

“We place privacy, transparency, and bias mitigation at the forefront of our product development and are constantly engineering new features that encourage and align with our ethical principles," said Matt Feury, Flock Safety co-founder and CTO. 

"We’re excited for the Transparency Portal to serve as another tool that our law enforcement partners can use to strengthen ties with their communities.”

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