Independence adds license plate readers along Noland Road

ByDavid M. Conte

Apr 26, 2022

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (KCTV) – New license plate readers along Noland Road will soon record and store information about drivers along the busy road.

The Noland Road Community Improvement District funded the cameras in partnership with the Independence Police Foundation. They are installed at eight intersections between I-70 and Truman Road. The total cost of the project was approximately $200,000.

Gerry Winship, the director of CID, said the companies had backed the installation of the devices as a way to improve safety in the rapidly developing neighborhood.

“It’s another improvement for our citizens and a safety factor,” he said.

The cameras will photograph cars and record plates as they pass, similar to cameras used in Kansas City and several other police departments.

Officer Jack Taylor, spokesman for the Independence Police Department, said the IPD was already using plate readers in some patrol vehicles.

“Our hope is that this will give us the tools we need to make Noland Road a safer place,” Taylor said.

Plate readers have raised concerns about privacy and abuse by groups such as the ACLU. The organization warned that the cameras often have very little public scrutiny.

A local spokesperson for the ACLU’s Kansas City office expressed concern about the lack of a city ordinance restricting IPD’s use of cameras. In a statement, they wrote:

“Missouri law does not protect our privacy from new, invasive forms of government surveillance, so there are no uniform standards governing what counties and municipalities can do with the private information they collect. , decisions about surveillance systems are made by unelected officials with little or no public input.License plate readers may seem harmless, but they track license plate number, date, l time and location of each vehicle, ties everything to you and stores the information in a database indefinitely and does so with little to no restrictions to protect privacy rights.

More than 23 cities across the country, including Kansas City, have passed community oversight of police surveillance legislation to provide public oversight and transparency on the issue of police surveillance. Because Independence has not passed these protections, there is a high risk of abuse and disparities in its monitoring programs.

Taylor said the cameras along Noland Road would only provide historical data, not real-time data.

“If we enter a license plate into the system, it must be a case that we are actively working on,” Taylor said.

Winship said privacy was initially a concern for some in the district, but ultimately the companies decided security improvements outweighed their concerns.

“We think it’s good protection for citizens and help for the police department,” Winship said.