License Plate Readers

ALPR - How it all works
The San Mateo Police Department has patrol vehicles and mobile trailers equipped with automated license plate readers (ALPRs) to better safeguard our community, helping to not only locate stolen vehicles and missing persons, but also wanted violent felons. This department is also deploying parking enforcement vehicles equipped with ALPR technology. These vehicles collect similar license plate data to our patrol vehicles and use the technology to assist in enforcement. ALPR devices have also proven time and again to identify crime trends and provide precise, investigation-specific information to help solve crime.
The system does not retain private vehicle registrant information of any kind. Our ALPRs collect publicly visible license plate character data, time/date/location points, and an image of the vehicle. This information is no different than the information viewed and/or collected by a conscientious patrol officer – just faster, more accurately, and in greater volume. We recognize that your privacy is important to you - and THAT is important to US! Data from our ALPR system, like those from the other agencies in our County and much of the Bay Area, is uploaded and retained by the Northern California Regional Crime Information Center (NCRIC) through their database. Data for parking enforcement purposes is also uploaded to NCRIC, and subject to the same strict policies. 

San Mateo Police Department maintains a policy on ALPRs that meets statutory requirements. Lexipol Policy 462 covers ALPRs and can be found within the publicly available policy manual.
NCRIC has a thorough policy and privacy impact assessment to assure the public of our ethical use of this data.

Visit the NCRIC website for policy information and FAQs, as well as their Privacy Impact Analysis.