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AL Republicans Seek License Plate Scanners For Police

Written by on December 21, 2020
Police car lights
Police car lights

Pre-filed bill SB2, sponsored by six Alabama Republican State Senators, could allow police officers and other law enforcement officers to use license plate scanners on public highways.

The bill is sponsored by Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), Greg Albritton (R-Range), Tom Butler (R-Madison), Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro), Greg J. Reed (R-Cordova), and J.T. Waggoner (R-Birmingham).

The bill allows for the following:

  1. Law enforcement agencies may collect captured license plate data. All captured license plate data shall be stored immediately upon collection and may not be accessed except for a law enforcement purpose. All captured license plate data collected shall be destroyed no later than 30 months after the captured license plate data was originally collected unless the captured license plate data is the subject matter of a toll violation or for a law enforcement purpose.
  2. Law enforcement agencies may exchange or share captured license plate data with other law enforcement agencies for law enforcement purposes.
  3. A law enforcement agency that uses a license plate scanner shall do all of the following:
    • Adopt and publicize a written policy governing its use prior to it becoming operational. The policy shall address all of the following:
      • The use of any database to compare data obtained by the license plate scanner.
      • The retention of data obtained.
      • The sharing of the data with another law enforcement agency.
      • The training of the operators of the license plate scanner.
      • The access to and the security of the data obtained.
      • Any other subjects related to the use of license plate scanners by law enforcement agencies.
    • Maintain a record of users who access data.
  4. Allows for Alabama law enforcement to contract with a third party to maintain captured license plate data for a law enforcement agency. The 3rd party would be required to adhere to the same standards as law enforcement agencies as listed in 3 above.
  5. The information collected or stored in any database is not a public record and is not subject to public disclosure under Section 36-12-40, Code of Alabama 1975.

License plate scanners have been subject to resistance by privacy advocates such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

SB2 Alabama 2021 Session

License plate scanners, limited use of on public highways by law enforcement agencies, confidentiality, destruction of information collected, criminal penalties.

Edited to clarify wording in the bill. License plate readers are not illegal in this state. This bill would expand the usuage of the readers and cover the data collection of the plates.

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