ADVERTISEMENT

Bloomington detective Tim Brosam drove through the city parking lot with Automated License Plate Recognition cameras, which can scan thousands of plates per shift.

Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

Mpls. now retains license plate data 90 days

  • October 31, 2012 - 7:48 PM

Minneapolis' database of license plate tracking information just got a whole lot smaller.

A Police Department spokesman, Sgt. William Palmer, said in August that the department retains location data on cars spotted by license plate readers for a year -- a long time compared with other departments in the area.

But Palmer said Wednesday that about a month ago, the department reduced its retention time to 90 days. That puts Minneapolis a bit closer to St. Paul police, who hold data for 14 days, and the State Patrol, which keeps it for 48 hours.

Keeping the data for a year meant that Minneapolis had amassed the state's largest database of license plate data -- the city scanned 4.9 million plates between January and August. Police said this was partly to help with investigations, but also because there was no state guidance on how long to keep it.

And it's public data, so the department has had to comply with dozens of requests for tracking information.

Palmer said the change was made via an administrative announcement.

The new retention time comes as an independent working group at the state level is discussing what state law should say on the issue.

ERIC ROPER

© 2014 Star Tribune