Grand Rapids to seek bids for automated license plate scanners

Posted at 7:52 PM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-09 22:32:17-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The city of Grand Rapids will move forward in automating parking enforcement after agreeing to seek bids for license plate scanners.

In a unanimous voice vote Tuesday night, City Commission leaders approved the next steps of searching for a bid for the scanners. The scanners automate what parking enforcers do: take down license plates and check who's illegally parked.

The move passed despite objections from the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, who in April sent a letter to city officials saying that the scanners are a piece of surveillance technology that reduces "personal privacy rights and empowers the surveillance society."

Parking Services Manager Josh Naramore said the technology will cut down time for parking staff as the city continues to grow.

Some residents are concerned about possible enhanced surveillance technology watching them. Naramore said the parking department holds onto information for a maximum of 24 hours, sometimes deleting it right after, provided there are no parking violations.