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Tonight: Menlo Park council weighs surveillance policy

Menlo Park police may finally get to deploy their new automated license plate readers in the near future after the council reviews a proposed privacy ordinance tonight (May 13).

The proposed ordinance would govern the use of the LPRs as well as the city's security cameras. If adopted, the new regulations would require the destruction of license plate data after six months unless it pertains to an active criminal investigation or court order. Camera recordings would be kept for 90 days.

The ordinance allows sharing data with other law enforcement agencies only with the permission of Menlo Park police and only if those agencies have signed an agreement to abide by the regulations. Any city employee accessing the data without authorization would face potential termination, criminal prosecution and civil liability.

The Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, which will store Menlo Park's captured license plate data, will provide quarterly reports to the police department about the number of plates captured, how many were on an active "wanted" list, and who asked to review the data and why. The police will then provide a report to the council.

Go to the city's website to the ordinance.

The May 13 agenda also includes hiring a consultant to review Save Menlo's downtown/El Camino Real specific plan initiative and talking about a pilot program to expand outdoor seating at downtown restaurants.

The complete agenda and associated staff reports is available online.

Tonight's meeting starts with a closed session for labor negotiations at 6:45 p.m. The regular meeting will follow in council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St. and will be streamed live.

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