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Automated license plate reader (ALPR) technology, also known as License Plate Recognition (LPR), allows for the automated detection and reading of license plates. It is used by law enforcement agencies to convert data associated with vehicle license plates for official law enforcement purposes, including identifying stolen or wanted vehicles, stolen license plates and missing persons. It may also be used to gather information related to active warrants, homeland security, and stolen property recovery.

The Pacifica Police Department does not own or maintain automated license plate readers (ALPRs) on patrol vehicles or at fixed locations in the City; however our officers and detectives have access to the ALPR database maintained by the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC). The Pacifica Police Department will access this information as needed to better safeguard our community as this data has proven time and again to help identify crime trends and those committing crimes not only in our community, but throughout the region.  NCRIC can also provide ALPR equipment to the Pacifica Police Department to temporarily use if an investigative need arises.

We recognize the importance of public privacy. The ALPR system does not retain private information of any kind. Data from the ALPR system, comprised of information from law enforcement agencies throughout San Mateo County and the Bay Area, is uploaded and retained by the NCRIC through their database. NCRIC has a thorough policy and privacy impact assessment to assure the public of our ethical use of this data.

Visit the NCRIC website for policy information and FAQs, as well as their Privacy Impact Analysis.   NCRIC 





Audio and Video Recorders: For decades the Pacifica Police Department has utilized audio and video recorders to accurately capture contacts between members of the Department and the public. This was accomplished through the use of audio recorders the officers carried on their person, and the use of in-car cameras operated in conjunction with a wireless transmitter to capture sound.  In 2017 our officers began using body worn cameras (BWC). All of these tools are used together to document encounters with the public, strengthen officers’ performance and accountability, enhance department transparency, and investigate and resolve complaints and officer-involved incidents.

We recognize the importance of the public's privacy. Police employees will remain sensitive to the dignity of all individuals being recorded and exercise sound discretion to respect privacy whenever it reasonably appears that such privacy may outweigh any legitimate law enforcement interest in recording.

Pacifica Police Department Policy 424 – Use of Audio/Video Recorders outlines the responsibilities, activation, prohibited use, preservation, retention, destruction and coordination of body cameras and recordings by police staff.   Audio & Video Recording Policy




NCRIC Policy


NCRIC Privacy Impact Assessment