Facial Recognition Technology
The Avon Police Department is seeking community public comment regarding its request to use facial identification/facial recognition as a crime fighting tool to assist in solving criminal investigations.
Facial identification/ recognition technology currently assists law enforcement in comparing photographs of criminal suspects, that have been taken from a business or residential security camera footage or witness cell phone photographs. The screen grab has to be of a sufficiently high resolution to be compared and examined. These suspect photographs are compared against databases of suspect arrest booking “mugshots” held by Police departments or Sheriff’s offices in Colorado and suspect booking arrest “mugshots” held by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We can also request a comparison against driver’s license photographs held within the Colorado Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Driver’s license database.
Any similar matches will be treated as investigative leads and Avon Police Department Police Officers or Detectives will build cases with other information or evidence in conjunction to any facial similarities.
This process is driven by the Colorado Legislature Senate Bill 22-113, in particular Colorado Revised Statutes § 24-18-301 through § 24-18-309.
Public Information Meetings and Public Comment
There are concerns expressed that this is “big brother." It is not. Big Brother is utilizing live stream camera surveillance footage of a stream of persons through an airport, for example, and comparing everyone’s faces against photographic databases. The Avon Police Department does not have that technology and per SB 22-113, any live facial recognition comparisons would require a court ordered search warrant.
Our request is entirely different. This is not comparing persons who are not suspected of a crime. This is comparing suspect photographs after a crime has been committed against a photographic database. The only exception would be someone for example who posts a Facebook post to say they intend to commit a violent act against the Avon community. In that case we would try and identify that person’s photograph against one of the databases.
If finally approved by the Avon Town Council, all Avon Police officers will undergo a four-hour familiarization training session in the use of facial recognition and our two detectives will complete a more comprehensive 24-hour training program.
Chiefs Daly’s presentation on March 14 to the Avon Town Council can be found here from minute 40:40 to 1:04:00.
Chief Daly's complete report to Council can be found here.