Takoma Park policy on license plate readers, plus city small grants & dog-park candidate-site photos

Monday evening’s city-council meeting will include a discussion of city policy on license-plate reader (LPR) data retention and sharing. The city currently has three car-mounted mobile readers (although there have been repair issues). We match scanned plates against a database in order flag stolen vehicles and other vehicles being sought.

Per the backgrounder, “The primary proposed change… recommended by staff, governing LPRs, is to allow the Takoma Park Police to share collected LPR data with the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC),” which would retain the data for one year. City retention would remain 30 days.

The council may discuss acquiring additional readers including stationary readers that would be mounted at certain locations at the city’s borders — which is to say that a councilmember will likely bring up the topic — and also whether the city has timely access stolen-vehicle records from the District of Columbia, Prince George’s County, and other jurisdictions.

The council is also slated to discuss Mini Grant Award Recommendations made by the city’s review committee. This is current fiscal year (FY14) spending, a total of $10,000 in grants, up to $2,500 each. Absent any surprises during the discussion, I plan to support the committee’s recommendations.

We will discuss a special request from the Takoma Park based US Africa Diaspora Business Council for $5,000, beyond our waiving the usage cost of city facilities for a June 21 conference, justified as a local economic-development step.

Finally: One of the city’s candidate dog-park sites is part of the city’s Heffner Park property, which includes a small community center and playground off Oswego Avenue and extends across the adjacent ravine to the edge of Takoma-Piney Branch Local Park. The council is slated to discuss candidate locations, on May 19. Please also see my May 1 Dog Park Status post.

I snapped a couple of photos to help you visualize this particular location, which is at the end of the parking lot reached from Darwin Avenue. The first was taken from the end of the Darwin Avenue parking lot:

The second has the Darwin Avenue parking lot in the distance:

The Monday, May 5, council meeting opens with public comment at 7:30 am. Speak out on any topic you wish, or send your comment by e-mail to clerk@takomaparkmd.gov.

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