Chicago Police DepartmentSpecial Order S03-20
Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) Systems
Issue Date:23 April 2018Effective Date:23 April 2018
Rescinds:
Index Category:Field Operations
I.Purpose
This directive provides Department members with guidelines on the proper use of Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) systems.
Satisfies CALEA Law Enforcement Standards chapter 41.
II.Definitions
For the purpose of this directive, the following definitions apply:
  • A.ALPR Alert —a visible and or audible notification to an ALPR Operator that a license plate scanned by an ALPR is on a prepared hot list.
  • B.Fixed ALPR System —ALPR cameras that are permanently affixed to a structure, a pole, a traffic barrier, or a bridge.
  • C.Hot List —a list of license plates of interest that is transmitted to an ALPR-equipped vehicle, a fixed system, or a portable system.
  • D.Plate Reads —the associated image and data of a license that is scanned by an ALPR camera.
  • E.Portable ALPR System —ALPR cameras that are transportable and can be moved and deployed in a variety of venues as needed.
  • F.ALPR Operator —a Department member that has been officially trained in the lawful use of City ALPRs.
  • G.Vehicle-Mounted ALPR System —ALPR cameras that are affixed, either permanently (hardwired) or temporarily (e.g., magnet-mounted), to a law enforcement vehicle for mobile deployment.
III.General Information
  • A.ALPR functions to capture an image of a vehicle's license plate, transform that image into alphanumeric characters, compare the plate number to one or more lists of vehicles of interest, and alert the member when a license plate of interest has been observed.
  • B.ALPR identifies license plates, not vehicles or persons.
  • C.Department members who are interested in using Plate Reads to further an investigation will make requests to the Crime Prevention and Information Center (CPIC) per the procedures outlined in the Department directive titled "Law Enforcement Archival Network (LEARN)."
  • D.Designated Department members will have the ability to query license-plate-reader data, create reports, and use analytic tools, such as mapping capabilities.
  • E.The Department may share ALPR data with any government entity that presents an authorized law enforcement or public safety purpose. The Department assumes no responsibility or liability for the acts or omissions of other agencies.
  • F.Vehicle ALPR cameras are fixed. Members will not move or adjust ALPR cameras.
  • G.Department members will adhere to the procedures of the Department directive titled "Access to Computerized Data, Dissemination, and Retention of Computer Data."
  • H.ALPR PDTs are assigned to specific ALPR-equipped vehicles. Department members will not use PDTs that are assigned to an ALPR-equipped vehicle in any other vehicle.
  • I.Department members who become aware of damaged or misaligned ALPR cameras will notify their immediate supervisor, who will conduct an investigation and take appropriate action.
    NOTE:
    Repairs to Department vehicle-mounted ALPR systems will be performed by the Information Services Division, Mobile Tech Section (unit 133).
IV.Policy
The availability and use of the ALPR systems have provided many opportunities for the enhancement of productivity, effectiveness, and officer safety. It is the policy that all Department members abide by the following guidelines set forth herein using ALPR systems.
  • A.The use of ALPR systems and information gathered will be obtained by lawful means in a manner consistent with Department policies, practices, procedures, and training.
  • B.All sworn members will be trained in the lawful use of ALPR equipment.
  • C.ALPR systems, associated equipment, and databases are authorized for official law enforcement purposes. Members who engage in the misuse of the equipment, databases, or data are subject to disciplinary action.
  • D.An instructional manual for the in-car usage of the ALPR system is available on the Department's web site.
  • E.Information contained within the Department's computerized information systems will be disseminated in accordance with Department policy and in compliance with all federal, state, and local laws.
  • F.Incidental sharing of information from the Department's computerized information systems or remote access by an outside law enforcement agency will conform to the policies and procedures outlined in this directive.
  • G.Department members will not purge any information stored in the Department's computerized information systems unless explicitly authorized.
  • H.All Plate Reads maintained by the Department will be retained for the period of 365 days from the time it was created.
  • I.Any Plate Reads that are pertinent to criminal or civil matters will be marked and retained until a court orders the termination of the evidence.
V.Procedures
  • A.ALPR Operations:
    • 1.Operators will inspect the ALPR equipment at the beginning and throughout their tours of duty to ensure proper function.
    • 2.Each operator will log in to the PDT at the beginning of his or her tour of duty, which will automatically log in to the ALPR.
    • 3.Each operator will ensure that the network connection has been established and the Hot List is current.
    • 4.Each operator will notify OEMC dispatcher that the ALPR is operating and available and his or her beat number and outside number.
    • 5.Operators who observe partial Plate Reads on ALPR may perform a "Manual Capture" consistent with training.
    • 6.Operators who, throughout the course of a lawful investigation, learn that a license plate of a vehicle is wanted for a crime may enter it as a "New Wanted" license plate into the ALPR. Prior to adding the new wanted license plate, the operator will:
      • a.add his or her own name and star number into the "comment" field of the "New Wanted" screen;
      • b.add the relevant Records Division Number or Event Number into the "description" field of the "New Wanted" screen;
      • c.be aware that "New Wanted" entries are stored locally to that particular ALPR machine; and
      • d.upon completion of investigating a "New Wanted" hit, Department members will delete the "New Wanted" hit.
    • 7.When the ALPR reads a license plate that is on a Hot List , it should alert the operator.
    • 8.Each ALPR Alert must be acknowledged.
    • 9.Each ALPR Alert must be lawfully and appropriately investigated when reasonable and safe to do so.
    • 10.Operators must visually confirm ALPR Alerts to suspected wanted vehicles prior to taking law enforcement action, and if no exigent circumstances exist, verify the validity of ALPR Alerts with OEMC or via PDT.
    • 11.Operators will complete all necessary documentation due to ALPR Alert investigations.
    • 12.If an operator effects an arrest through the use of an ALPR, he or she will contact CPIC to receive assistance to acquire a paper copy of the alert to be included in court documentation.
    • 13.Operators will off-load their ALPR data before the end of their tour, consistent with training.
    • 14.Operators will log out of the PDT at the end of their tour of duty, which will automatically log out the ALPR.
    • 15.During certain special events, OEMC might supply the Department with Portable ALPRs .
      • a.Supervising Department members who have received ALPR training will ensure that the Portable ALPRs are operating properly.
      • b.Supervising Department members who have received ALPR training will assign a properly trained operator to monitor alerts provided by the Portable ALPRs.
      • c.Operators assigned to monitor Portable ALPRs will request nearby field units to assist in the investigation of all ALPR alerts.
  • B.The Crime Prevention Information Center (CPIC) will:
    • 1.provide access, document requests, and maintain logs of requests for services under its control.
    • 2.assist any member seeking to obtain a Plate Read for public safety purposes;
    • 3.assist any member seeking a printable copy of an ALPR Alert for court documentation;
    • 4.create protocols to assist Department members requesting help to search Plate Reads for law enforcement purposes;
    • 5.create protocols to assist Department members requesting to add license plates to Hot Lists if the additions are for a documented law enforcement purpose; and
    • 6.create and maintain logs of requests.
  • C.The Information Services Division will:
    • 1.be responsible for repairs to the ALPR system;
    • 2.document and maintain logs of requests for services under its control; and
    • 3.ensure the program is in compliance with all record-retention requirements related to comparable forms of electronic data and imaging systems.
  • D.The Education and Training Division will develop training protocols.
Authenticated by: KC
Eddie T. Johnson
Superintendent of Police
14-179 MJC
GLOSSARY TERMS:
1. -
A visible and or audible notification to an ALPR Operator that a scanned license plate scanned by an ALPR is on a prepared hot list.
2. -
ALPR cameras that are permanently affixed to a structure, such as a pole, a traffic barrier, or a bridge.
3. -
A database of license plates of interest that is transmitted to an ALPR equipped vehicle, fixed, or portable system.
4. -
The associated image and data of a license that is scanned by an ALPR camera.
5. -
ALPR cameras that are transportable and can be moved and deployed in a variety of venues as needed.
6. -
A Department member that has been officially trained in the lawful use of City ALPRs.
7. -
ALPR cameras that are affixed, either permanently (hardwired) or temporarily (e.g., magnet-mounted), to a law enforcement vehicle for mobile deployment.