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Ypsilanti City Council bans license plate readers citing invasion of privacy

license plate readers cropped.jpg
Tony Webster
Creative Commons
License plate readers

Automatic license plate readers will not be installed in the City of Ypsilanti. This is after the Ypsilanti City Council voted to ban them at last night’s meeting.

When a car passes a license plate reader, the device tracks the vehicle’s make, model and color and, as the name would suggest, the license plate.

While law enforcement sees this as a tool to track people down to help solve crimes, Ypsilanti City Council see it as an invasion of privacy.

Next door in Ypsilanti Township, they support adding the cameras, but after Tuesday night’s 5-0 vote, they will not be installed within the city limits.

Annie Somerville is the council member representing the Third Ward.

“Aside from wanting to send a clear message that we do not support that technology, we also wanted to make sure that if in the future, our police department is interested in exploring that, that they would actually, there would have to be an amendment from an ordinance.”

Somerville says even if there was an interest in the license plate readers, the cost of installing them would not be a good use of resources.

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Josh Hakala, a lifelong Michigander (East Lansing & Edwardsburg), comes to WEMU after more than two decades of working in a variety of fields within broadcasting and digital media. Most recently, he worked at Michigan Radio as a producer and a fill-in host. Prior to that, he worked for Advance Digital where he managed newspaper websites from across the country, including While his resume is filled with sports broadcasting experience (Big Ten Network, 97.1FM The Ticket, 610AM WIP etc.), radio reporting (90.1FM WRTI) and odd jobs (an editor for the FIFA video game series for EA Sports), he brings a passion for news and storytelling to WEMU.
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