Critics wary of new funding for license plate readers
Your license plate might be coming to a database soon. That's because local law enforcement agencies are about to get new high tech license plate reader technology from pandemic stimulus recovery money.
Senator Chap Petersen is a Democrat from Fairfax City who says the approval of grant money from the American Recovery Act, known as ARPA, is suspect. "It is a fact that the state sought to basically expand the use of license plate readers. I believe it was for state police and other state agencies and we rejected that," Petersen notes. "And now it feels like an end run that they want to take this ARPA money and just start doing it out to local police departments."
Shawn Weneta at the ACLU of Virginia says the next General Assembly session is likely to spotlight this issue. "I would expect legislation to come forward to put serious restrictions on it,"Weneta says, "and it'll be interesting to see what the response is from the law-enforcement community and the General Assembly and ultimately from the governor's office if it makes it to his desk."
License plate readers are likely to be a topic on the campaign trail this year with all 140 members of the General Assembly on the ballot this year.