American Civil Liberties Union

12:55 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Data Trackers: License Plate Scanning Technology Raises Privacy Questions

License plate readers are mounted on two Springfield police squad cars.
Credit Garrett Brnger

It doesn’t take much time at all, fractions of a second, to be marked and mapped, recorded and reported.

The automatic license plate reader cameras don’t look like much — just a pair of strobe lights on the back of a squad car, or maybe a cartoon character, depending on whom you ask.

“We had little kids call them ‘Wall-E,’” says Springfield Police Sgt. Charles Kean, whose department has been using the technology on two squad cars since 2013. The reference is to a lovable animated robot, the titular character from a 2008 Disney film.

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4:43 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Police Searches More Likely For Minority Drivers In Springfield

Credit flickr/JasonRojas

A new report finds signs of racial bias in data collected about police searches during traffic stops in Illinois.  

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois released the report Wednesday.   It suggests police are nearly twice as likely to ask blacks and Latino drivers to consent to vehicle searches during traffic stops than they are to ask whites. But white drivers are about 50 percent more likely to have contraband found during such a search. 

Springfield numbers are similar to the statewide findings. 

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Sun June 1, 2014

Doing Right by the Kids: An Agreement Seeks to Improve Conditions, Care of Youth in Custody

Grafton Mayor Tom Thompson gives the keynote address at a graduation ceremony at the Pere Marquette Youth Center in October.
Credit Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice

Special monitoring visits to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice recently found youth detainees mowing lawns and building shelves rather than attending educational courses. Monitors discovered youth being given medication with inadequate consent and living in rooms that were improperly maintained. Facilities were found to lack the proper staff to treat juvenile offenders with mental illnesses. 

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