Dallas Police Upgrades Traffic Cameras

Due to the outdated cameras installed within the city, the city council gave the green light for specialized cameras that can help Dallas PD read license plate informations according to a KRLD News Radio article which reports, 


“The Dallas City Council approved a plan Wednesday to buy dozens of specialized cameras that can read and upload a car’s license plate information.


The stationary cameras will be placed at selected intersections around the city. They’re similar to the license plate readers that the Dallas Police Department purchased a few years ago for some of the department’s squad cars.


Police officers will use the license plate data recorded by the cameras and compare it to an existing database. They’ll look for vehicles that have been reported stolen or those that are associated with people with outstanding arrest warrants.


“I think they will also go very far for our public safety initiative to address the issue of crime,” said Council Member Carolyn King Arnold.”


However, according to Executive Assistant Chief Albert Martinez, the camera won’t be utilized to catch speed violators or those running the red lights since there are still ongoing concerns regarding the photographic signal enforcement systems as well as privacy concerns according to a Dallas Morning News article from February 8. They say,

“Though the cameras can have benefits ranging from toll collection to locating crime suspects, there are privacy concerns, said Nick Hudson, a policy and advocacy strategist with the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.


The majority of people whose information is collected and stored in these types of programs aren’t under suspicion of criminal activity, he said. People who routinely travel the same route can have their information on file for months or years despite policies that require deletion of data after a certain period.


“A concern when you just put an item on a council agenda like this as a contract approval, is you skip over a step where you’re having important conversations with residents about when and how these sorts of programs and devices are used,” Hudson said. “In our society, it’s a core principal that the government doesn’t invade people’s privacy and collect information about people just in case they do something wrong.”


Martinez said DPD is aware of privacy concerns, noting the planned 30-day data deletion policy and that the city was assured by the company that safeguards are in place to prevent frivolous searches. The cameras are meant to capture state-issued license plates on vehicles traveling on public roads, he said.”


Approximately $820,000 has been approved as the budget for the 80 cameras that will be purchased over the course of five years.


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