Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPR)
Installation of cameras began Nov. 19, 2021. Ten cameras have been installed to date
Use of the cameras by the Santa Clara County Sheriff will begin Monday, December 20
The ALPR system was approved under a 60-day pilot program. The pilot program will begin once all 40 cameras are installed. At the end of the pilot program, the City Council will consider keeping or removing the ALPR system.
On April 15, 2021, the Los Altos Hills City Council approved the installation of Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPRs) at fixed locations throughout Town for the purposes of deterring crime and helping to create a safer environment for all those who live, work, or visit the Town.
The ALPRs installed in Town will gather data associated with vehicle license plates that can be shared with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office for purposes, including, but not limited to, identifying stolen and wanted vehicles, recovering stolen property, and gathering crime related information.
The picture to the left is an image of how the ALPR cameras will look on Town streets.
ALPR cameras benefit the Town in three ways:
- The physical presence of a camera and accompanying street signs indicating recording is in process can limit crime occurring in the first place;
- After a crime has occurred, the data which has been recorded can give law enforcement leads for investigations; and
- The cameras have the ability to send instant notifications to law enforcement when a vehicle of interest has been identified.
About The System
The Town has partnered with the ALPR camera vendor, Flock Safety, to install 40 ALPR cameras throughout Town. Every street entrance into Town will have a camera scanning the license plates of inbound traffic to Los Altos Hills. Several other major intersections and roadways within Town boundaries will also have cameras installed. License plate information will be compared against law enforcement lists of license plates associated with stolen vehicles and people that have committed a crime. If the ALPR system detects any matches, the Santa Clara County Office of the Sheriff will be notified immediately to investigate.
See map below for camera locations. Please note that exact camera locations are subject to change as the implementation process is underway.
The Opt-Out List
Los Altos Hills residents may opt-out their vehicle's license plate from the Flock ALPR system if desired. Residents must submit proof of vehicle registration to an incorporated Los Altos Hills address to be eligible for the opt-out program. Opting out of the ALPR system stops vehicles from being tracked by the Town's ALPR system. The opt-out list is voluntary for Town residents.
**Please note that that the opt out list applies to license plates, not vehicles. If an opted out license plate is transferred to a different vehicle, the opt out will automatically apply to the receiving vehicle and the donor vehicle will no longer be opted out (since it will no longer have the opted out license plate).
Town ALPR Policy
State law also requires that agencies with ALPRs to record when and who accesses the ALPR data, terms used in records searches, and the purpose for accessing the data. Public agencies are prohibited from selling ALPR data and data can only be shared with other public agencies
On March 18, 2021, the City Council adopted an ALPR Policy for the Town pursuant to State requirements. Click the link below to read the staff report and watch a recording of the discussion.
- Agenda Item 6.A - Resolution Adopting a Policy on Automatic License Plate Readers in the Town of Los Altos Hills (Staff: C. Einfalt)
Below is an overview of the policy broken down by section:
- Purpose – The ALPR policy will regulate the use, management, retention, and other aspects of the Town’s ALPR system.
- Authorized and Prohibited Uses – The Town’s policy directly reflects the authorized uses allowed under Santa Clara County’s policy and is consistent with State law.
- Data Collection – The ALPR system collects a vehicle’s license plate information as well as the date and time of capture.
- Data Storage/ Protection – Data collected by ALPRs are automatically uploaded to cloud storage at the time of capture. Data shall not be downloaded to a local server or stored locally on a hard drive or portable device, expect when used in an investigation.
- Data Access – The Town’s ALPR system and data shall only be accessible by trained personnel of the Sheriff’s Office.
- Data Retention – Data not associated with an investigation shall be deleted after 30 days, and any data used in an investigation shall be deleted 6 months after collection unless ordered to be retained by a court of law.
- Public Access - ALPR data shall not be sold, shared, or transferred.
- Third-Party Data-Sharing – Data collected by Town ALPRs shall be limited to specific parties associated with public safety and the law.
- Training – All authorized users with access to the ALPR system will receive required training from the Sheriff’s Office on the use and access of the data.
- Oversight - The Sheriff’s Office shall ensure compliance with the policy as the provider of law enforcement services to the Town.
Town ALPR Ordinance
On June 17, 2021, the City Council adopted an ALPR ordinance in Los Altos Hills establishing penalties for violating the Town's ALPR Policy. Based on Council direction, the ALPR ordinance states that anyone found violating the Town’s ALPR Policy is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000). Each violation of the policy will be considered a distinct and separate offense, so multiple violations would be fined separately. Click on the link below to read the staff report and watch a recording of the discussion.
- Agenda Item 6.D - Introduction (First Reading) of an Ordinance adding Chapter 9, “Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPR)”, to Title 4 “Public Safety” in the Los Alto Hills Municipal Code Imposing Penalties on Violators of the Town’s ALPR Policy (Staff: C. Einfalt) Motion to Waive Reading and Introduce the Ordinance
Agreement between the Town and Flock Safety, Inc.
April 15, 2021 City Council Meeting - Click on the link below to read the staff report and watch a recording of the discussion for the approval of 40 ALPR cameras with Flock Safety Inc.
- Agenda Item 5.A - Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Negotiate and Enter Into an Agreement with Flock Safety for Forty (40) Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) Cameras not to exceed $120,000.00 Annually and Appropriate $120,000.00 from the Unreserved General Fund in Fiscal Year 2020-2021 for ALPR Expenses (Staff: C. Einfalt)
For questions regarding the Town's ALPR system, please contact:
- Town Management Analyst, Cody Einfalt
- email: email@example.com
- Phone: 650-947-2508