Jan 152022
 

There are 32 agencies that submit license plate reader data to the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC), the regional fusion center for Northern California. However, many more agencies are able to access that data once it has been sent to the NCRIC.

According to records received in response to a public records request, 71 agencies queried the NCRIC license plate database between February 21 and March 21, 2021. While the agencies looking up license plates at the NCRIC are generally law enforcement agencies located in Northern California, a few of these agencies may stand out as somewhat unusual. The United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General had the 11th highest number of queries to the license plate reader database. Other agencies included the National Park Service, the California Department of Motor Vehicles, and the US Postal Inspection Service.

Other agencies accessing NCRIC’s license plate reader database are to be expected, such as the police departments from the Bay Area’s three largest cities: San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland. After the three biggest users of the NCRIC license plate reader database, the users vary from Fremont, with an estimated population of 240,000, to cities like Dixon and Atherton, with populations of less than 20,000.

Piedmont, with more than 39 automated license plate readers situated at the border with Oakland, has been one of the three largest submitters of license plate reader data to NCRIC, with 22 million images of vehicles of license plates and vehicles annually. However, during the period from February 21 to March 21, 2021, it didn’t use the NCRIC license plate reader database even once. Vallejo, which submits more than 15 million images of vehicles of license plates and vehicles to NCRIC annually, queried NCRIC’s database just four times in this one month period. Berkeley, which doesn’t submit any license plate reader data to NCRIC, queried the database 61 times during this one month period.

According to records for October 2021, Piedmont queried the NCRIC license plate reader database just once while Vallejo didn’t query the database at all.

A table showing the agencies and the number of queries to the NCRIC license plate reader database for 2/21/21 to 3/21/21 is shown below. Note that queries by a District Attorney’s office may be included for some of the agencies listed, like the San Mateo, Alameda and Solano County Sheriffs. In addition, Danville, which is listed below, is contracting out its policing to the Contra Costa County Sheriff.

AgencyCount
San Francisco PD650
Oakland PD277
San Jose PD230
Fremont PD88
San Mateo Co. Sheriff73
San Leandro PD66
FBI63
Berkeley PD61
California Highway Patrol69
East Bay Parks PD57
USDA OIG51
South San Francisco PD46
Hayward PD31
Newark PD30
Dixon PD30
Marina PD27
Alameda Co. Sheriff26
NCRIC26
Redwood City PD26
Palo Alto PD24
Milpitas PD19
National Park Service18
Chico PD26
CA DMV14
Sunnyvale DPS14
Belmont PD12
Napa PD12
Napa Co. Sheriff13
Monterey PD10
Santa Clara Co. Sheriff9
FBI IC9
Santa Rosa PD8
Daly City PD8
Menlo Park PD8
Hercules PD8
Atherton PD8
Colma PD7
Vacaville PD7
San Mateo PD8
Burlingame PD6
Novato PD6
Santa Clara District Attorney5
Antioch PD5
Morgan Hill PD5
Solano Co. Sheriff5
Union City PD4
Dept. of Homeland Security4
CA Dept. of Justice4
Santa Clara PD4
US Postal Inspection Service4
Conta Costa Co. Sheriff4
Benicia PD4
Vallejo PD4
Mountain View PD4
Stanislaus Co. Sheriff3
Hillsborough PD3
Pleasant Hill PD3
Livermore PD3
Santa Cruz Co. Sheriff3
Foster City PD2
Seaside PD2
Contra Costa Co. DA2
Rocklin PD2
US Dept. of Justice2
Pacifica PD2
Richmond PD1
Sacramento Co. Sheriff1
San Bruno PD1
Tracy PD1
Central Marin PD1
Danville PD1
Agencies using NCRIC License Plate Reader Database from February 21 to March 21, 2021
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