The Reno Gazette-Journal is reporting that the Reno city council plans to review the purchase of license plate recognition cameras, in part “aid in the investigation and reduction of gun related crimes” at its Wednesday, 12/04, meeting. The intent is to purchase an additional two mobile and six fixed readers. Is this a danger to gun owners or is it just crappy reporting? It's crappy reporting.
License plate recognition (LPR) or automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology merely pulls up registration of a vehicle and any associated information (warrants, stolen vehicle wants, other flags) that can be obtained manually by the officer or a dispatcher.
The request is specifically to allocate funds from the Strategies for Policing Innovation (SPI) grant award given to Reno by the US DOJ in 2018. As for the Dec. 2019 request, the police staff report says the following:
This award will be used to support focused efforts to apprise problematic gang members of the legal consequences of gun violence and a wider educational campaign that treats gun violence as risk to public health.
SPI will use a problem-oriented approach to engage stakeholders, including community members and business owners, and gather information in neighborhoods most likely to be victimized by firearm related crimes. One component of the SPI grant project is to use LPR technology to aid in the investigation and reduction of gun-related crimes.
The staff report reporting the award of the 2018 grant has similar language.
SPI will use a problem-oriented approach to engage stakeholders, including community members and business owners, and gather information in neighborhoods most likely to be victimized by firearm related crimes. This input will be used to develop strategies to reduce gun violence.
The difference between 2019 (top) and 2018 (bottom) is the lack of the LPR language. Basically, the police department is using grant money to combat with "gun violence" to buy license plate readers. They justify this by adding the language that they will "use LPR technology" to the initial purpose of the grant. There is no requirement to specify how they will do that.
I was in law enforcement and used early LPR cameras. I'm also familiar with how federal grant money gets disbursed. If you add in a few words that make it seem like you're using the grant money for the purpose of the grant, you can use it for whatever you want. Any further justification might be "Well, we'll use the cameras to identify wanted felons who might have a gun or vehicles wanted for a murder/robbery, etc."
Short version is: Reno Police are saying what they need to in order to get new cameras and use this grant money to do it. It's how federal grant money works. Nothing to see here.
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