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Phoenix-area police say cameras weren’t purposefully hidden

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. — Officials in the town of Paradise Valley, Arizona said they was working to be transparent about the installation of fixed license plate readers at several of its intersections.

The town made national news in the wake of placing the readers inside fake cacti, raising concerns for some about whether it was an attempt to hide the use of readers from the public.

The police department said it wasn’t not trying to hide anything, that the cacti simply looked better than poles.

This week, the department released a timeline of the process to implement the license plate readers, which dates back to 2013. A mayoral task force on public safety recommended the town look into using them.

Community resource officer Kevin Albert said there were restrictions when and how officers can use the data from the readers.

“We do not touch the data unless there is a need to do so,” he said.

The report included a map that identifies the location of each reader and the direction it faced.

Albert said the cameras have been installed at seven spots and four more locations will be added in the near future.