City Commission approves plan to expand use of automated license plate cameras

DAYTON — The Dayton City Commission has approved the police department’s plan to expand the use of automated license plate cameras.

The commission OK’d the plan in a 3-2 vote Wednesday evening.

>> Dayton police chief defends expansion of automatic license plate readers

Mayor Jeffrey Mims Jr. expressed support for the expanded use of cameras, noting, “property will be saved, lives will be saved and this city will be safer.”

Commissioner Darryl Fairchild offered an opposing view: “A lot of issues about crime have been brought forward and there’s no evidence that this technology will address those issues.”

Friday, Dayton Police Chief Kamran Afzal defended the proposal to put the license plate cameras in all police vehicles and to install fixed-site cameras (the technology is called the Automated License Plate Reader as the camera “reads” the plates automatically) in some communities.

Afzal said expanding the use of automated license plate cameras will help alleviate the information overload on police officers and build efficiency into criminal investigations and the response to public safety alerts.

Some community groups have expressed concerns about the technology, including about the potential abuse of access to information, the targeting of certain communities and racial profiling.

“The only things police officers would be notified about would be for a felony, domestic violence, stolen vehicles or if a car is involved in a crime,” Chief Afzal said at last week’s meeting with reporters. “That’s the only thing our officers are going to be alerted on, per our policy.”

Hours before Wednesday evening’s commission meeting, the Dayton Unit NAACP issued a statement in support of the police department’s plan.

“The Dayton Unit of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) supports the use of an apparatus or tool that ensures the safety of persons/people and property. It is a must that there is policy within the Dayton Police Department that prevents implicit bias, explicit bias, and racist use,” Unit President Derrick Foward said in the statement.

“There must not be profiling or targeting of specific sectors of the community. Third party vendors should be required to be apprised of DPD policies and an agreement to abide by such policies and procedures included in any binding contract. All community members want to trust the use of collected data and that the data will not violate their civil and human rights.”

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