A Lee’s Summit resident is suing the city to get information about its use of license plate readers.
Bob Gough, who’s known for his activism on tax issues, is asking a Jackson County Circuit Court judge to rule that pieces of information collected on innocent people caught up in the surveillance are public records.
He contends their names and other information should be available for inspection. He’s unsuccessfully asked the police department and city clerk for the information.
Gough is representing himself in the lawsuit he filed Feb. 14.
The Lee’s Summit Police Department participates in a nationwide database program that screens license plate numbers captured by cameras, utilizing computers to automatically compare them with reports on stolen vehicles, or drivers who have active warrants and other investigations.
Gough said he has no problem with the police department using the high-speed surveillance cameras to locate stolen cars or identify criminals on the street, and he doesn’t want information on active investigations. However, he says he’s bothered by the possibility of the patrol car driving by a church or a gun store and taking pictures of who is there.
“I don’t think that’s appropriate for the kind of society I want to live in,” Gough said.
The Lee’s Summit City Council has set a policy that data cannot be stored for more than 30 days, unless it’s part of an ongoing criminal investigation.
City Clerk Denise Chisum, the designated custodian of records, said Gough several times had made the same request of the city and police, but been denied because of an exception to the Sunshine Law. She said the city is aware of the suit.