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If you're worried about getting a traffic ticket because of Lexington's new license plate readers, police say don't be

Downtown Lexington, Kentucky on March 2, 2022
Josh James
Downtown Lexington, Kentucky on March 2, 2022

Lexington council members heard more detailed information about the police department's plan to try out license plate reader technology in the city.

The plate readers are part of a pilot program, which will be reevaluated after a year. Assistant Chief Eric Lowe assured the Urban County Council that the technology would not be used as an enforcement tool to monitor regular drivers for traffic violations.

"To be clear, they are used to gather leads to investigate crimes reported to us. We're not using this to do any type of enforcement in a neighborhood. This is to gather information that we can use as a starting point for a criminal investigation."
Lexington Police Department Assistant Chief Eric Lowe

The program calls for 25 cameras to be set up according to an analysis of violent crime patterns over the last two years. The location of the readers has been a top concern for the ACLU, the NAACP, and the Human Rights Commission.

With regard to deciding those locations, Councilman James Brown asked if the police department plans to use service calls or incidents where no crime took place.

"Historically, neighborhoods or communities have been disproportionately impacted from those kind of activities, so I think it's important that we're using real data and information to determine the location of these cameras."
First District Councilman James Brown

Assistant Chief Lowe said "actual violent crime" reported to the police would determine the placement, not officer-initiated activity, traffic stops, or similar incidents.

While LPD said it's hesitant to publicize where the cameras will be located, they will not be hidden from view.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.