San Jose Councilman Proposes Mounting License Plate Readers on Garbage Trucks

A San Jose city councilman is proposing the city mount license plate readers on garbage and recycling trucks.

Some police units use the license plate readers to check on a vehicle to see if it was stolen or used in a crime. The proposal, which is said to be the first such program of its kind, would help the police department cover the big city.

Councilman Johnny Khamis said the idea is to help the understaffed police force at a cost of only a few thousand dollars a year.

"They actually scan every single car as they go and it will be a great way to sweep the whole city, at least once a week for stolen cars," Khamis said. "Also helpful in triangulating positions for current fugitives, or robberies in progress, or even abducted children."

Mayor Sam Liccardo supports the proposal, but wants to make sure it does not trash people's rights.

"I think certainly we want to understand the civil liberties implications, the legal implications," Liccardo said. "Any time you're putting cameras out in public -- I think we're all concerned about that."

Khamis emphasizes garbage collection companies and their workers will not be able to access the data.

"We will not be using the information for anything other than stolen vehicles, Amber Alerts and robberies in progress," Khamis said.

The proposal will be introduced at city hall on Wednesday and could go before the full city council in about two weeks.

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