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Denver police will scan every license plate at Federal Blvd. and 6th Ave.

Plate readers will go live in near future
Posted at 6:02 PM, Oct 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-10 12:31:28-04

DENVER — Drivers passing through the busy intersection of Federal Blvd. and 6th Avenue might not notice the new hardware that's mounted next to traffic lights. The Denver Police Department installed several license plate readers in late September.

The readers are not new to Denver Police, but this is the first permanent location. Police have been using the technology since 2015, and the existing 11 license plate readers are used by officers in their patrol cars.

According to police, the $62,000 project to mount cameras above Federal Blvd. was part of the 2018 budget.

"That’s a location that we’ve identified through data. We’ve got a lot of stolen vehicles in that area. We’ve had a lot of hit-and-runs at that particular intersection so our data just suggested that would be the best location," said Division Chief Ron Thomas.

Thomas said there are no further plans at this time to install additional fixed license plate cameras.

The technology will be used to alert officers about stolen cars, other vehicles that police are looking for and missing children. Those alerts will be pushed to officers' mobile data terminals in District 1, District 4 and the gang unit.

"I’m always worried about how our police department finds ways to invade our privacy in the name of public safety," said Denise Maes, Public Policy Director for the ACLU of Colorado.

The Aurora Police Department currently has 22 stationary license plate readers and 11 vehicle-mounted readers.