SDPD advocates use of surveillance technologies in streetlights

San Diego Police Division has been advertising the use of Wise Streetlights and Automated License Plate Recognition technologies to conduct investigations and boost police response and public security.

The new technologies are proposed to be incorporated in the City’s Surveillance Ordinance, which demands City Council approval of technologies utilised to monitor and determine folks.

If Wise Streetlight and ALP Recognition technologies are eventually adopted by the City, annual reports outlining their intended use will be needed. A newly produced privacy advisory board will also have to sign off on and monitor police use of the new technologies.

Capt. Jeff Jordon, of SDPD Chief’s Workplace/legislative affairs and particular projects, has been providing extended public presentations explaining the want for and advocating police use of, the new Wise Streetlights and ALP Recognition technologies.

“We’re obtaining meetings to solicit public feedback and comments that will get translated into a neighborhood influence report to be presented to what is now identified as a Privacy Advisory Board,” mentioned Jordon. “The PAB will be tasked with listening to this data and saying this is a excellent notion – or reject it – in their suggestions to the City Council.”

The Wise Streetlights project started as a expense-saving work by the City to replace higher-power-use streetlights with far more effective LED lights. A lot of of the three,200 wise streetlights installed in public spaces citywide had been also equipped with sensors utilised to produce processed information like pedestrian and car movement, along with parking activity as effectively as normal environmental measures of temperature, stress, and humidity.

The use of information from Wise Streetlights started in 2018. But that practice was suspended following two years of use in 2020, due to legal issues that their implementation could infringe on privacy rights.

“From the police department’s standpoint, Wise Streetlights and ALP Recognition technologies are each actually strong tools,” mentioned Jordon adding, “But they raised all types of issues simply because no policies and procedures had been straight away created for their use.”

Jordon noted SDPD has 125 beats covering 350 square miles. He mentioned police have studied exactly where 500 Wise Streetlight cameras could very best be deployed to “have the greatest quick influence on crime.”

Through the two years when Wise Streetlight information was permitted to be utilised by police, Jordon noted there had been clear-reduce situations exactly where the overview of the information solved crimes. He gave one particular instance exactly where a murder Downtown recorded by a Wise Streetlight camera confirmed that a man charged with murder in a shooting had really been acting in self-defense.

Relating to ALP readers, Jordon noted they “take a snapshot of license plates that tells us the make and model of the car or truck.” But he added ALP readers “don’t inform us who the driver or the registered owner is or who the passengers are. In quick, it does not give us a person’s identifying data.”

Jordon mentioned ALP readers have also verified to be beneficial. “There has been a lot of advantage to us utilizing that information in identifying suspects,” he mentioned adding ALP Recognition has also been utilised in databases looking for stolen automobiles or in Amber Alerts to search for missing or kidnapped young children.

The use of the new Wise Streetlight and ALP Recognition technologies could also assist out with SDPD’s ongoing personnel shortage. “We have roughly 1,850 officers in the City correct now,” Jordon noted. “We’re the second lowest-staffed division, behind only San Jose, for a city of far more than 500,000 persons.”

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