Emeryville may cut out notorious license plate reader firm from city contract

A proposed parking management program in Emeryville on Tuesday night is already controversial enough.

But included in the proposed contract that would bring additional metered parking to the city’s business district, is a subcontract with Vigilant Solutions, a controversial data management firm that has worked in the past with the U.S. Homeland Security and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Vigilant Solutions, which has provided Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) services for other East Bay cities, is listed as one of three subcontractors for a parking management contract in Emeryville.

The inclusion of Vigilant Solutions in the proposed contract, though, could violate Emeryville’s sanctuary city policy that was enacted in January 2017.

Emeryville, however, already has ties with Vigilant Solutions. The Emeryville Police Department currently uses three ALPRs provided by the company for traffic enforcement, according to a city staff report.

Emeryville Councilmember John Bauters raised concerns about the appearance of Vigilant Solutions in the staff report for the Feb. 4 meeting, according to a letter he sent to city staff last week.

A letter sent by a representative from Vigilant Solutions to the City of Emeryville on Jan. 31 said the company does not sell or share ALPR data with any federal law enforcement agencies and that Emeryville has full control of the data it compiles.

In recent years, more East Bay cities have become increasingly aware of Vigilant Solutions and its past connection to the federal government. Richmond cut ties with the company. Two years ago, the Alameda City Council nearly approved a large contract with Vigilant Solutions for ALPRs.

But a media report published just days before the meeting about Vigilant Solution’s ties to ICE, dissuaded Alameda officials from moving forward with the contract. Like Emeryville, Alameda is a sanctuary city.

–UPDATE COMING SOON–