Concord Council gives green light for 65 license plate readers

Concord Council gives green light for 65 license plate readers

Concord Council gives green light for 65 license plate readers
City of Concord Concord selected the 65 ALPR camera locations after input from several Concord PD detectives and Flock Safety staff. The license plate information will automatically sync with federal, local and state databases. The solar-operated cameras can be moved if the need arises.

CONCORD, CA (Sept. 15, 2022) — The City Council unanimously approved placing 65 license plate cameras around town, after hearing the impact they could make on missing person cases, sideshows and smash-and-grab crimes at the Aug. 23 meeting.

“We are close to one of the last in Contra Costa to put in fixed cameras,” noted Councilmember Laura Hoffmeister. “Anything that is an aid to the police force and public safety, I am in support of that.”

“I’ve been getting asked about this from people in my district, particularly Sun Terrace, since 2019,” added Councilmember Carlyn Obringer. “I think this is an opportunity to be a force multiplier for our police department and help keep our community safer.”

The 24-month agreement with Flock Safety will cover lease and installation of the cameras and associated software services for about $403,900. The council approved the money in June as a Capital Improvement Project (CIP), and the city has an option for a second, 24-month contract.

According to provisional Lt. Kevin Halm, the technology is not new to the city.

“About a week from now, we’ll mark 14 years we’ve been using ALPR (advanced license plate recognition) mounted on our cars,” he told the council.

Fixed locations

The only difference is that the new cameras will be in fixed locations. Concord already uses such data from other agencies – including neighboring Clayton and Pleasant Hill.

The cameras will record a still image of each license plate along with a partial image of the car and time and place. There will be no photos of people, and nothing can be used for traffic enforcement.

“It queries license plate information against its database, which syncs with federal, local and state hot lists. That means if a car is flagged as stolen, involved in a crime or associated with a missing person, it lets officers working on the street and dispatch know,” Halm said. “It helps our community be safer by providing officers with real-time data to quickly locate a vehicle.”

The program will also allow homeowner associations and businesses to purchase cameras to install at their locations and partner with the Concord Police Department to help their members and customers feel safer.

Hoffmeister addressed privacy concerns by noting that the cameras are in public.

“There is no expectation of privacy once you walk out your front door,” she said. “I have neighbors who have Ring cameras. We’ve got security cameras in stores. I don’t have a problem with this.”

Flock will retain each image for 30 days unless Concord PD marks it to be saved.

“If it’s involved in an investigation or crime, then we can keep that data for five years,” Halm said.

Advanced License Plate Recognition (ALPR)

What it does:

  • Gathers objective evidence about license plates
    and vehicles.
  • Alerts police of wanted vehicles.
  • Used to solve crimes.
  • Adheres to all state laws.

What it doesn’t do:

  • No facial recognition.
  • Not tied to personal identifiable information (PII).
  • Not used for traffic enforcement.
  • No video.

Source: Concord PD

Bev Britton
Bev Britton
Copy Editor at The Concord Clayton Pioneer |

Bev Britton graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of North Dakota and moved to the Bay Area with her soon-to-be husband Jim in 1986. She was features editor at the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek before becoming managing editor of the Contra Costa Sun in Lafayette in 1995. She retired from newsrooms in 2001, but an ad for the Clayton Pioneer drew her back in. The family moved to Lake Wildwood in the Gold Country a few years ago - but working at the Pioneer keeps her in touch with her old neighborhoods in Concord and Clayton.