MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Beach Police are pushing for permanent license plate readers on state roads in order to help curb crime, but some groups believe this technology would violate citizens’ rights.
On Memorial Day Weekend, Miami Beach Police use mobile license readers at all entrances to the Beach in anticipation of an increase in commotion and crowds, and consequently, criminal activity. Due to these mobile license plate readers, officers in the department have realized there is a real advantage in using them.
Just this past weekend, Miami Beach Police officers arrested Jose Martinez after, they said, he fled from police cruisers and crashed into a bus. Thanks to a mobile license plate reader, they were able to arrest Martinez.
Now, they want the State legislature to pass a bill allowing fixed license plate readers on all state roads, including the two Miami Beach causeways.
“We have yet to get permission from the Department of Transportation to put our readers on state roads, and my colleagues and police chiefs across the state have a similar lament,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates.
However, groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are concerned these readers would be an invasion of privacy.
The ACLU released a statement, which read in part, “Clear regulations must be put in place to keep authorities from tracking our movements on a massive scale and from retaining the data from these scanners for long periods of time, to ensure that they are only being used for legitimate law enforcement purposes.”
“First of all, it’s well settled in the law that license plate readers are lawful,” explained Chief Oates. “Cars are among the most regulated things in society. They drive in open, public roads.”
Despite the backlash, Oates said several police departments are pushing for the bill to pass. He believes fixed license plate readers could soon be a reality in South Florida.
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