Interim Law Enforcement Committee – May 2012

Beaver County Sheriff Cameron Noel (son of Kane County Representative, Mike Noel), got more than he planned for when he went before the Law Enforcement Committee. He had hoped to simply get permission to deploy and access power for a fixed-site license plate recognition camera on a stretch of I-15 between Beaver and St. George. Instead of permission, Sheriff Noel and the DEA IT-Tech that was with him, were pelted with questions about the ins and outs of the system.

Despite Sheriff Noel’s assurances that he would personally make sure any data obtained would not be used for anything other than DEA-related purposes, the committee wasn’t about to give it a green light. Questions were raised about the length of time the data would be stored: 2 years; the location of the stored data: Virginia; potential privacy/intrusion concerns; the shock at finding out that other similar devices were already in use at other locations in the state without legislative or public knowledge, and general lack of trust for the federal oversight of such a program.

Fortunately, the committee saw through the simplistic presentation and the presence of one of their own in the audience (Rep. Mike Noel sat directly behind his son throughout the presentation) and decided much more study was needed, not just on this particular instance but on any use of the device throughout the state.

We’ll be watching as this moves through the interim days and into the next session, making sure the right questions continue to be asked, and adequately answered.

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