State police departments push back against report claiming they aid ICE

Posted: Updated:
NORWALK -

The American Civil Liberties Union alleges some Connecticut law enforcement agencies are sharing residents' location information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but many are denying those claims.

Among those named in the ACLU report is the Norwalk Police Department. The Norwalk police chief says the report implies an agreement between his department and ICE, which he says is not true, and if it was going on, it was unknown to him.

"We use a license plate technology ... through a vendor that's used by many, many agencies across the nation and here in Connecticut, and most of us submit to a centralized database for that information," says Norwalk Police Chief Tom Kulhawik.

The ACLU says immigration agents have been tapping into that private database of license plate numbers to track down people who may be in the country illegally.

Eight Connecticut departments were named in the report, including Westport, Fairfield, Trumbull and Stratford.

The executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut released a statement saying, "This is the latest example of why Connecticut needs a multitude of safeguards to take control of police surveillance and limit local law enforcement's cooperation with ICE."

Kulhawik says it's the expressed policy of his department to refrain from assisting with federal immigration actions. He says, while the license plate technology is a valuable tool for investigations, his department will look into the situation.

"We do not enforce immigration laws and we will be today working with our vendor to determine how we can protect that data," says Kulhawik.

The Westport Police Department released a statement, saying in part, "The license plate reader system in no way provides the officer information as to the immigration status, race, gender, sex, name of the person operating the vehicle, or the owner information of the vehicle, nor does it record any of this information ... Throughout the country these systems and databases have proven themselves to be invaluable tools to law enforcement."

The Fairfield Police Department also offered a statement, saying, "While there has been some scrutiny as to the privacy rights of individuals, the license plate readers do not provide the officer with race, gender, ethnicity, or immigration status from the information provided by the registration plate ... The Fairfield Police Department takes privacy rights very serious and seeks to find a balance between ensuring people's Constitutional rights, and the use of the LPR data to solve crimes and maintain the security of our community."

  • Connecticut Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>

  • Altuve's HR in 9th sends Astros to World Series over Yankees

    Altuve's HR in 9th sends Astros to World Series over Yankees

    Sunday, October 20 2019 12:33 AM EDT2019-10-20 04:33:41 GMT
    Sunday, October 20 2019 2:03 AM EDT2019-10-20 06:03:37 GMT
    (AP Photo/Matt Slocum). Houston Astros' Jose Altuve hits a double against the New York Yankees during the first inning in Game 6 of baseball's American League Championship Series Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Houston.(AP Photo/Matt Slocum). Houston Astros' Jose Altuve hits a double against the New York Yankees during the first inning in Game 6 of baseball's American League Championship Series Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Houston.
    (AP Photo/Matt Slocum). Houston Astros' Jose Altuve hits a double against the New York Yankees during the first inning in Game 6 of baseball's American League Championship Series Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Houston.(AP Photo/Matt Slocum). Houston Astros' Jose Altuve hits a double against the New York Yankees during the first inning in Game 6 of baseball's American League Championship Series Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Houston.
    Jose Altuve hit a game-ending homer off Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the ninth inning and the Houston Astros outlasted the New York Yankees 6-4 to advance to the World Series for the second time in three years.
    Jose Altuve hit a game-ending homer off Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the ninth inning and the Houston Astros outlasted the New York Yankees 6-4 to advance to the World Series for the second time in three years.
  • Bridgeport family asks for help after daughter dies in car crash

    Bridgeport family asks for help after daughter dies in car crash

    Saturday, October 19 2019 5:33 PM EDT2019-10-19 21:33:54 GMT
    Bridgeport family asks for help after daughter dies in car crashBridgeport family asks for help after daughter dies in car crash
    Bridgeport family asks for help after daughter dies in car crashBridgeport family asks for help after daughter dies in car crash
    A Bridgeport family is asking for help paying for the funeral of a woman who was killed in a car crash.
    A Bridgeport family is asking for help paying for the funeral of a woman who was killed in a car crash.
  • School Spirit Showdown: Vote on the Top 12 schools

    School Spirit Showdown: Vote on the Top 12 schools

    It's a battle for bragging rights! News 12 is looking for the schools with the most school spirit! Is it yours?

    It's a battle for bragging rights! News 12 is looking for the schools with the most school spirit! Is it yours?

  • Connecticut SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Your Oct. 16 storm photos

    Your Oct. 16 storm photos

    Storm photos Oct. 17Storm photos Oct. 17
    Storm photos Oct. 17Storm photos Oct. 17
    Heavy right and high winds swept through the tri-state area due to a large coast storm on the night of Oct. 16. Here are your photos from the storm.
    Heavy right and high winds swept through the tri-state area due to a large coast storm on the night of Oct. 16. Here are your photos from the storm.
  • Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
  • Just Married in Connecticut

    Just Married in Connecticut

    News 12 Connecticut wants to announce your wedding.News 12 Connecticut wants to announce your wedding.

    News 12 Connecticut wants to announce your wedding. If you were married in the past 90 days, please submit your photos via Twitter or Instagram using #JustMarriedCT.  

    News 12 Connecticut wants to announce your wedding. If you were married in the past 90 days, please submit your photos via Twitter or Instagram using #JustMarriedCT.  

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."