Butler county is the newest part of Ohio ready to deploy automatic license plate scanning technology to passively scan for traffic scofflows and other criminal activity. The Butler county Sherrif’s department is added to the growing list of law enforcement agencies using these systems, including the Ohio Highway Patrol and Toledo PD.
As noted in the news article, these devices scan every license plate near the police vehicle scanner, whether stationary or moving. If it picks up a plate that is matched with a stolen vehicle, or identifies a car that is owned by someone with a suspended driver’s license or outstanding criminal warrant for bail jumping, the officer is instantly alerted.
These license plate scanning systems can be configured to match any law enforcement or government database. Some municipalities choose to use these systems to find and boot vehicles whose owners may owe money for parking tickets or back taxes. But this flexibility and the amount of data collected can raise concerns about the civil liberties protections of this constant monitoring.
Certainly few would object to increased police efficiency in finding cars flagged for an amber altert, or stolen vehicles. But data is collected and stored on many thousands of cars who have done nothing wrong. Yet with the GPS location matching, the government knows exactly where your car was at what time. This data can be stored indefinitely, and shared with any government agency to be searched retroactively.
These systems will only become cheaper and more widespread. In the very near future, they will likely be standard equipment on all police and governent vehicles in Ohio and nationwide.
You simply can’t expect to go anywhere unnoticed anymore.
And this fact is critical to anyone who thinks they can get away with ignored a driver’s license suspension or failure to appear notification.
If you are accused of a crime in Ohio, call our defense attorneys for a free legal consultation and evaluation of the charges against you. There is no obligation for the intial consultation.