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Published on Friday, February 10, 2017

Bill would authorize the use of automated license plate readers

Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Bainbridge Island) is sponsoring a HB 1909 to allow automated license plate reading systems in numerous situations. In all of the scenarios, any collected data must be disposed of within a day. The bill would provide for the use of systems in the follow circumstances:

  • By a law enforcement agency or parking enforcement agency for locating vehicles on a watch list. A watch list may only contain license plate data on stolen vehicles, vehicles associated with Amber Alerts, vehicles associated with felony warrants, and vehicles associated with individuals for whom there is probable cause to believe they have committed a felony.
  • By a parking enforcement agency for enforcing time restrictions on parking spaces.
  • By a transportation agency for providing real time traffic information to the public; and
  • By an agency (including cities and towns) for controlling access to secured areas.

The bill would also requires any agency using such a system to annually report on the system’s use, including: the number of license plates scanned, the sources of watch list information, the number of false-positive matches, the number of matches that resulted in arrest, and the number of stolen vehicles recovered.

The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) is opposed to this bill. HB 1909 will be heard on February 16, at 3:30 pm, in the House Transportation Committee.