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City of Lathrop adding license plate scanners

License plate scanning cameras are on their way to Lathrop.

Months after the Lathrop City Council approved the purchase of cameras to be deployed at strategic locations to scan traffic moving into and out of the city as a way to deter crime, the council will decide a consent calendar item that will formalize the $625,000 purchase and allow city staff to move forward with the installation of the cameras.

In doing so, Lathrop they will join Manteca that is getting ready to install the license plate scanners as well. Ripon has had license plate scanners in place for years

The Lathrop council will meet at Lathrop City Hall – located at 390 Towne Centre Drive – on Monday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.

The state-of-the-art technology which can scan multiple lanes of traffic with a single camera has already been deployed in River Islands and the results, according to the staff report, been impressive – the cameras have captured vehicle accidents as they happened as well as other questionable behavior that can all be used by law enforcement to enforce the city’s existing laws.

While fears of privacy were initially discussed, the council utilized existing policies employed by their law enforcement contract provider to ensure that the power that cameras provide is not abused.

Because the City of Lathrop contracts with the County of San Joaquin for police services, the information collected by the cameras will be maintained by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, which already has policies in place regarding license plate readers and the way in which the information they collect is stored, secured, and shared.

According to that policy, in order to maintain the highest standard of privacy, none of the information that is collected can be distributed to the public or viewed by the public for any reason – only authorized law enforcement agencies that have the legal authority to request the information may do so, and only if formal steps are taken.

If the purchase request is approved by the council the cameras will be installed at Golden Valley and River Islands Parkways, Harlan Road and Louise Avenue, Harlan Road and Lathrop Road, Lathrop Road and 5th Street, and McKinley Avenue and Lathrop Road.

Other intersections may be upgraded with the technology at the council’s discretion.

In order to get an understanding of how the systems work and how municipalities benefit from them city staff surveyed a number of cities that have deployed the technology and received favorable feedback – particularly around the automated license plate reading technology that can alert law enforcement to stolen or wanted vehicles.

The City of Ripon utilizes a similar system and has made numerous apprehensions of people that were driving stolen vehicles through the intersections near the highway traffic commercial district along Highway 99.

For additional information, or to obtain a copy of the Lathrop City Council agenda, visit the City of Lathrop’s website at

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.