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Plate readers work for El Cajon police

The City of El Cajon implemented the use of automated license plate readers at a council meeting earlier this year, after City Council approved a one-year pilot program for the El Cajon Police Department’s use to strengthen public safety, curb criminal activities, and improve law enforcement’s ability to crack down on vehicle related crimes.

Built by Flock Safety the ALPR cameras send real-time alerts to law enforcement when a stolen car or known wanted suspect from a state or national database is detected, and with a missing person in and AMBER or Silver Alert is detected.

According to ECPD Lt. Will Guerin, the cameras capture license plates and vehicle characteristics only. Not people or faces. All captured data is automatically deleted after 30 days unless determined to have evidentiary value. The department says cameras solve and reduce property and violent crime, locate missing persons, are not intended for minor traffic and parking violations, and are not utilized for immigration enforcement.

Guerin reported that the effectiveness of the ALPR cameras was successful in two cases on its first day of implementation.

On July 28, an alert notified law enforcement about a vehicle stolen during a robbery and carjacking in Lemon Grove on July 22. A San Diego Sheriff’s Department deputy intercepted the vehicle within minutes and apprehended two suspects.

Later that same evening, another alert signaled the presence of a vehicle stolen during a commercial burglary in Winterhaven, California on July 26. An El Cajon police officer located the occupied vehicle at a gas station and arrested the suspect.

On July 28, a select number of El Cajon Police Department members underwent comprehensive system administrator training provided by Flock Safety. The training taught them the proper utilization of the ALPR system, including handling real-time alert notifications. They also learned how to conduct system audits to ensure full compliance with local, state, and federal laws, guaranteeing the system’s ethical and lawful operation.

Other users of the ALPR system received training last week.

For further information regarding the usage of the Flock Safety ALPR camera system, visit https://transparency.flocksafety.com/-el-cajon-pd-ca.

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