BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — At Wednesday’s special meeting of Bloomington’s Public Safety & Community Relations Board, officers with the Bloomington Police Department shared a presentation on the Flock Automatic License Plate Readers.
The department is hoping to acquire the tools pending approval from City Council.
A concern from the public and members of the PSCRB was if the cameras would pick up images of people, in addition to license plate information.
Bloomington Police’s Supervisor of Crime & Intelligence Analysis Jack McQueen assured that would not be the case.
“It only picks up the license plate, the machine learns the license plate is alphanumeric characters, and uploads it in the cloud, no other data exists in the cloud or in our system, concerning the driver, race, sex, age, date of birth,” said McQueen.
Bloomington Police also explained that the data from the cameras are stored in a government cloud server compliant with FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) and data is wiped after 30 days.
“31 days comes along, that data is unavailable, i.e. overwritten, and gone,” said McQueen.
Chief Jamal Simington added, Flock Safety is contractually obligated to not share or sell data.
In agreement with Flock, and also in their own policy, BPD also cannot use data for traffic enforcement, fines, towing, or immigration enforcement.
Members of the board approved a recommendation for the council to greenlight a contract for the cameras, but said they want external oversight into data collected by BPD.
“I’m not talking about ongoing investigations that could be compromised by information sharing, that’s not what I’m referring to, I’m talking about general data that could be gleaned and reported out to boards such as ourselves, or any other board that was established for that purpose to make sure that there was oversight of the information that was gleaned,” said Board Member Art Taylor.
Bloomington Police also report that 79 other agencies in the state are using this technology, and have shared positive results with BPD.
This contract pending approval should be on the city council’s agenda come Monday.