Af­ter slay­ings, Long Is­land po­lice to de­ploy li­cense plate read­ers

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Michael Bal­samo

Of­fi­cials in sub­ur­ban New York say they will in­stall dozens of li­cense plate read­ers in re­sponse to bru­tal gang-re­lated killings in­volv­ing teenagers and oth­ers.

The high-tech read­ers rep­re­sent one step that law en­force­ment of­fi­cials say will help them stem the vi­o­lence in the mid­dle­class Long Is­land com­mu­nity east of New York City.

Nearly three dozen sus­pected gang mem­bers have been rounded up in re­cent weeks fol­low­ing the deaths of four Brentwood High School teens, a for­mer stu­dent and a 34-year-old man. Some of the vic­tims were known mem­bers of the MS-13 street gang, and two of the vic­tims were teenage girls.

The re­cent ar­rests in­clude five sus­pected gang mem­bers who are ex­pected to face fed­eral rack­e­teer­ing charges. Of­fi­cials have yet to iden­tify them or the spe­cific charges pend­ing against them, cit­ing the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Three of those found dead had been re­ported miss­ing months ago and were found as part of the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Suf­folk County Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Ti­mothy Sini has said, “you don’t stumble upon skele­tal re­mains

by ac­ci­dent,” but he has not elab­o­rated.

Au­thor­i­ties said the li­cense plate read­ers will not be used for traf­fic in­frac­tions or traf­fic war­rants.

Of­fi­cers would be re­quired to have a spe­cific case num­ber and ar­tic­u­late a rea­son they need to ac­cess the cam­era in­for­ma­tion, of­fi­cials said.

A 2012 study by the Po­lice Ex­ec­u­tive Re­search Fo­rum, a re­search and pol­icy group, found that about seven in 10 law en­force­ment

agen­cies na­tion­wide have at least some ac­cess to the tech­nol­ogy. Some de­part­ments mount scan­ners in pa­trol cars that cap­ture data as po­lice of­fi­cers drive around town. Oth­ers buy ac­cess to data­bases main­tained by pri­vate com­pa­nies that mount plate scan­ning cam­eras on

tow trucks.

Civil lib­er­ties ad­vo­cates have raised some pri­vacy con­cerns about how long the in­for­ma­tion is stored and who has ac­cess to it.

In Brentwood, there will be more than 50 cam­eras in 20 sep­a­rate lo­ca­tions, Sini said.

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