City council may have limited NOPD's ability to make use of more license plate scanners


The New Orleans Police Department wants more cameras that can read license plates to help them track down suspects. A local crime expert says the city needs to let the department use more technology, and stop holding them back with regulations.

Metro Crime Commission president Rafael Goyeneche says high tech crime fighting methods like license plate readers can help a department like the NOPD deal with its chronic staffing shortages. But he said the New Orleans City Council is tying the department's hands when it does things like forbid the department from using facial recognition technology.

"Last year, the city council voted to limit the NOPD's use of technology, including license plate scanners when they passed an ordinance limiting the department's ability to use facial recognition," said Goyeneche. "They used language so broad that it also applied to other technologies."

Goyeneche says it shouldn't even be necessary to limit facial recognition technology, because there is a lot more police work involved in making an arrest than just recognizing a face.

"Having a face identified is not going to be evidence to go out and arrest somebody. Police still have to establish probable cause," Goyeneche explained. "It's no different than if the picture is put on television and somebody calls up and says 'that's so-and-so.'"