by David Miller

Loveland, Ohio – The Loveland Police Department has placed automated license plate readers throughout the city to capture the “fingerprint” of vehicles.

According to City Hall, the police will utilize the “latest technology to detect and deter criminal activity” and are using Flock Safety Automated License Plate Readers.

Automated License Plate Reader (Photo provided by City of Loveland)

In a news release, City Hall says that approximately 70% of all crimes involve a vehicle. “With the readers, a vehicle fingerprint can be captured: the license plate, make, model, color, and number of times the vehicle has been seen. Alerts are sent to officers for cars wanted in connection with crimes, stolen vehicles, wanted persons, and Amber/Silver Alerts for missing persons. Investigators can use Flock data (stored for 30 days) to identify cars used in crimes.”

The City says the devices will not be used for traffic enforcement. Alerts are sent to officers for cars wanted in connection with crimes, stolen vehicles, wanted persons, and Amber/Silver Alerts for missing persons.

Flock Safety Automated License Plate Reading Camera (Image by Flock Safety)

The City gives this example of how the Flock data could be used: “In 2022, a senior resident with memory issues drove away from home. The family contacted LPD to report a missing person. A search of Flock could have provided a direction of travel. The resident’s vehicle could have been entered into Flock’s database, and officers would be alerted if/when it passed by any Flock license plate reader nationwide.”

Below is what their “Transparency Portal” says about what data will be maintained and its current usage.

“Loveland OH PD uses Flock Safety technology to capture objective evidence without compromising on individual privacy. Loveland OH PD utilizes retroactive search to solve crimes after they’ve occurred. Additionally, Loveland OH PD utilizes real time alerting of hotlist vehicles to capture wanted criminals. In an effort to ensure proper usage and guardrails are in place, they have made the below policies and usage statistics available to the public.”

What’s Detected: Vehicle Fingerprint
License Plates, Vehicle Make, Vehicle Color, Last Visit Date / Time, Number Of Days Seen
What’s Not Detected
Facial recognition, People, Gender, Race
Acceptable Use Policy
Data is used for law enforcement purposes only. Data is owned by Loveland OH PD and is never sold to 3rd parties.
Prohibited Uses
Immigration enforcement, traffic enforcement, harrassment or intimidation, usage based solely on a protected class (i.e. race, sex, religion), Personal use
Access Policy
All system access requires a valid reason and is stored indefinitely.
Hotlist Policy
Hotlist hits are required to be human verified prior to action.
Data retention (in days)
30 days
Number of owned cameras
Vehicles detected in the last 30 days
Searches in the last 30 days
Hotlists Alerted On
National Crime Information Center (NCIC) which includes vehicles wanted for crimes, missing and wanted persons, AMBER & Silver Alerts

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