KY: Local police department’s new tool reads license plates automatically

[ – 7/7/18]

PADUCAH, KY – Another set of eyes are looking out for you, but these ones are electronic.

We told you on Tuesday about an under-staffing problem at the Paducah Police Department. They need to hire about six more officers.

But in the meantime, the department is getting some help from this pretty cool tool.

John Smith is a patrol officer. He’s got a new partner that sits on the top of his car. “It doesn’t change my duties a lot. The license plate reader kind of does its own work,” Smith said. “It reads the license plates a lot faster than I can.”

They’ve been working together for two months. “Every car that I pass, it will reference the license plate against a national database and tell me if the car is stolen,” Smith said. “It can tell me if the owner of that car has a warrant or is on the sex offender registry.”

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A few months ago I was pulled over because there was an NCIC “hit” on my vehicle. As it turns out, ALL sex offenders have this “hit” on their vehicles. A NCIC “hit” simply means there is an active record attached for law enforcement review. It took the CHP officer calling in to get things cleared up. I then noticed a similar issue when I went to take care of normal DMV business registering my vehicle. I was asked to take a seat. Shortly after an officer arrived and went to talk to me but then DMV responded said, this was an NCIC hit and they just confirmed with CHP that it’s clear and i’m good to go.

I have paperwork that actually shows this “hit” from the DMV’s perspective. The last time I went in I said you should probably get CHP on the phone because your going to get a hit on my vehicle. The lady and another guy behind the counter looked at me strangely and the other guy said “He’s a 290 and we’re now seeing these NCIC hits on vehicle registrations.”.

I have been pulled over twice since then for the same reason.

“Smith said. “It can tell me if the owner of that car has a warrant or is on the sex offender registry.”

What GD difference does it make if this “cool” new tool identifies the “owner” of a vehicle on the registry?!

How is this going to aide and assist LEOS? Someone enlighten me. Especially how ALL vehicles (not just the SOs) at the address must be registered. Oh, that’s right.. their excuse is any vehicle that we have “access to” must be registered at the local cop bar because it can be used in the future commission of a crime. RIGHT..

The day after Easter this year my husband was pulled over and the officer asked my husband if he knew why he pulled him over. Dumbfounded my husband said he had no idea why. Officer told my husband his driver’s licensewas expired; husband told him he was in fact wrong and showed him he renewed it 5 weeks ago. However my husband and son have the same name ( jr/sr.), my son is currently in prision and is on the sex offender registry but my son’s license has expired while in prision. Other than using the police scanner there was NO probable cause to pull my husband over. It is also apparent the officer was pulling him over because he thought the person was a registered sex offender. Other people in my community have been pulled over because they have criminal records without probable
My son gets out of prision in 13 days, I have told him not to get a car because they are profiling through the use of license plate scanners.

Pretty soon, Officer Smith, you will be outsourced to automation. Be careful what you wish for…

So what happens when your family is getting pulled over? My daughter who is 17 said a cop car was following her and it scared her. I have 4 cars all registered to me. Yeah I could change it but if I’m caught driving it…well we all know that outcome.

SIMPLE way around this !!!
Go get a FBN (Fictitious Business name) costs like $20ish buxs is good for I think it was 5 years and a ad ran in a paper or online… simple…

Register the CAR and TITLE to that FBN !

Simple, when the plate is ran comes up as a BUSINESS and not a personal name !
I did it MYSELF and doesnt cost me a penny extra on my car insurance either !
Im in CA !

When the plate is ran by LEO retard, just comes back as a business name, no name attached to it AT ALL !

LEOs where I live use ALPRs (automated license plate readers). So I requested a copy of any ALPR records that were produced for my vehicle. I received a print out about 6 pages long showing me every instance that an ALPR took a photo of my car and where it was at the time the photo was snapped. I had actually hoped to see something interesting, but no such luck. Every single one of the photos the ALPR snapped of my car were all of it either in front of my house or of my car actually parked off the street, in my driveway.

We covered this issue several months ago. Most big cities use these to track everyone. Police love this data. Smaller towns with only one way in and out are now starting to use it to check on every visitor coming in. I think we should all expect that we are being watched anywhere we drive. This is just part of what the future holds for everyone.

Like to remind everybody that if you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer or agency, you can surreptitiously, or secretively, record the interaction using some sort of recording device such as a GoPro or your cell phone camera that they are not aware of being used during the interaction. Do not make it obvious. If you can get the name, badge number, and maybe division office of the individual(s) who is interacting with you during one of these stops, that’s all you need. You do not necessarily need a face, so it does not necessarily have to be a video but could just be an audio recording. If there’s someone in the vehicle with you, who is comfortable recording at the same time you are, all the more power to you. Remember, this is your right to do this and has been settled in courts even if law enforcement agencies in officers do not approve of such action. you can most likely guarantee that they are recording this interaction. Beware that there may be a second individual who is providing cover on the opposing side on the back quarter panel. Note the interaction with as much detail as possible. Just be kind and courteous with them, not confrontational.

At the same time, you should also get a business card from them stating who they are and other contact information in addition to possibly who their Watch Commander or desk sergeant is. If they do not have a business card, try and write down as much information as you can and repeat it verbally as you’re writing it so you have it on your recording as well.

Stopping you based on a label in a database is ridiculous just because you have registered the license plate with a registering office. If you can get them to admit that’s the reason why they stopped you instead of other probable cause such as a expired license plate, dead tail light, bad headlight, or anything else, it would be wonderful because that information could be used legally I would imagine under profiling.

There is a YouTube video that has been linked here previously from a professor and a former law enforcement officer educating people as to why they should not talk with law enforcement when pulled over.

If you see LEO coming up, just pull over or turn off street. I did this last week. Santa Clara PD. Behind me, so I u-turned into a car wash. He got stuck at light, but then pulled in. He had to walk up since another car was behind my car, which was in a stall. I asked what I had done to be questioned. Everyone could hear his answer. When he asked if I was current on my registration, I asked which one. He said my RSO status. I had him repeat it, and made sure others heard him. One guy actually told him he was harrassing me ( turns out he was a felon on parole). I told him I was current and he left. We talked about it among us and others actually showed empathy for me!
Is this what America has come to. That law enforcement is allowed to harrass and hinder the movement of citizens without cause? Or worse, create reasons to invade our lives.
Now not only do we have to be careful of criminals and “good intentioned” citizens harming us, we need to look over our shoulders at for the very people we pay to protect us.


If their only reason to pull you over is because you’re an RC and they get an NCIC hit from your license plate, then to you want them to freely admit it and you record it unbeknownst to them. If they know you’re recording, don’t expect them to admit to it then, but something else will be the reason for the stop.

They may not like you recording it and make it difficult to do so.

Doesn’t this go directly against the SCOTUS decision in Carpenter where the government cannot track you without a warrant?

This decision was supposed to secure a right to privacy “in the whole of their physical movements.”

The CA SC has ruled that ALPR data are *not* investigative records (, and thus the Thin Blue Liars cannot shield it from the public. This would also seem to play against any TBL who pulls you over based on a NCIC hit. If not investigative, how could there be reasonable suspicion? Sure sounds like 4th Amendments issues abound, and I suspect one of these cases will land in SCOTUS’ lap someday soon. Based on Jones and Carpenter, this betting man would be putting his money on SCOTUS striking using the collected data without a warrant. SCOTUS seems really, really wary of Governmental use of electronic data collection and surveillance. Thank God!

Here’s a site with a small collection of ALPR cases:

Remember Vigilance Solutions? (Think: “Vigilante Solutions”) This, from 2015: “Vigilant Solutions announces today that its LEARN analytic software and commercial LPR data helped a Southern California law enforcement agency locate and apprehend a suspect in a sexual assault case against a mother and her two young daughters. Because of the nature of this case, the agency has requested to remain anonymous and have certain aspects of the case obscured.

One of the detectives on the case explains, “On July 4th, a mother and her two young daughters were exiting a grocery store, when a vehicle pulled in front of them and obstructed their path of travel. The driver of the vehicle leered at the young girls while holding an article of children’s clothing and making an inappropriate sexual gesture. From the mother’s account, we had a description of the suspect and his vehicle, but only had a partial license plate. We were unable to identify or locate the suspect and vehicle by conventional means or through other law enforcement databases.”

“I ran a partial license plate search in the LEARN software, accessing over 80 million license plate detections in our immediate area, and almost 4 billion nationwide, and located one plate in our area that matched the vehicle description given by the mother. Using a different system, and with a permissible purpose authorized by the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, I ran a records check of the registered owner that revealed the vehicle belonged to a registered sex offender residing in the area. A search warrant was obtained for the suspect’s residence and articles of children’s clothing were discovered. The suspect was arrested without incident.”

The detective concludes, “Basically we were able to identify this sexual predator in a matter of minutes using LEARN where conventional investigative and policing methods had failed. This could have taken much longer to accomplish the same result, possibly endangering many more potential victims.”

I’m not sure how this is “sexual assault” and not simply ill-conceived, boorish behavior (alleged) but this is what the company, itself, seems to think is a terrific use for their license-plate reader dragnet. Also, how hard is it to get a search warrant these days? Apparently, any excuse will work.

They have a similar system in pa but it’s to read plates for invalid or expired registration, but I’m sure it does that it’s doing in Kentucky and other places, I think the LEOS have a little more dignity for registrants where I live but I could be wrong.

There has to be a legal way around this somehow…

I don’t want my wife driving around with a big flag on her car saying “SO”. What if she’s driving to lunch with a coworker and she gets pulled over?

And what about my kids? My kids will be driving soon. They don’t know my situation, thankfully I’ve been able to hide it from them but what if the get pulled over?

How is all of this not just a punishment, but ‘cruel and unusual’? It could be affecting my family directly even when I’m not there… that’s cruel and unusual!