Civil Liberties

Police Want Traffic Cameras Used for Wider Surveillance

Who saw that coming?


PORTLAND – Police in Oregon and Washington want to expand the reach of red light cameras to catch the really bad guys – murderers, child abductors, armed robbers.

Both state legislatures are considering proposals that would eliminate provisions in the state laws that keep police from using the cameras for anything but red light running.

Police say they just want to use it to catch felons.

In Washington, police say being able to use the license plate image captured by red light cameras might have helped them catch a suspect in the drive-by shooting of a 21-year-old woman in Seattle. As the law stands now, police can only use the image to enforce traffic infractions.

But civil liberties advocates fear changing the red light camera law is one step closer to broadening government surveillance.