For years, the LA Police Department (LAPD) hasn’t given an obvious answer on whether it uses facial recognition in its policing work. Week that changed this. Monday on, the agency told The LA Times it has used the technology nearly 30,000 times since late 2009.
The LAPD uses the LA County Regional Identification System (LACRIS), a database greater than 9 million mugshots maintained by the LA County Sheriff’s Department. At one point, a lot more than 500 LAPD personnel had usage of the operational system, although department claims that the real number is nearer to 300 lately. Josh Rubenstein, a spokesperson for the LAPD, said he couldn’t be certain just how many arrests LACRIS has helped the authorities department make. However, he said, “No folks are arrested by the LAPD based solely on facial recognition results.”
As, Rubenstein told The LA Times the police will not use facial recognition technology. LAPD Assistant Chief Horace told the newspaper the recent denials were mistakes. “We aren’t attempting to hide anything,” he said.
The LAPD’s acknowledge that it uses facial recognition comes at the same time when cities over the US debate police usage of the technology. In NY, Mayor Bill de Blasio recently pledged the town would reevaluate its position on the tech following the NYPD used facial recognition to research a prominent Black Lives Matter activist. Boston recently banned its local police department from utilizing the technology altogether after Robert Williams, a Black man from Detroit, was wrongfully arrested because of false identification police made using software supplied by DataWorks Plus. DataWorks did work with LACRIS also, installing the three facial recognition engines the operational system uses.