Modern law enforcement agencies use a number of technologies to help them do their jobs. Among them is automated license plate recognition (ALPR) — a high-tech way of scanning and reading license plates in public places and checking them against hotlists to help police locate cars sought in connection with crimes. Public safety agencies cite numerous examples in which both real-time and historical information obtained from ALPRs has helped to solve crimes, including stolen cars, missing persons and even murder cases. But others have questioned the practice, citing privacy concerns. What kind of data is collected? Who has access to it? How long is it kept?
Debates are heating up across the country, with laws pending in 15 states in the current legislative session. Our map takes a look at those states, and states with laws now on the books pertaining to ALPR systems.