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The LAPD and the County Sheriff use specialized cameras to scan the license plates of drivers unaware that they're under surveillance. What do they find out? How long do they keep the information? That's what privacy watchdogs want to know, but the cops aren't telling. We hear about a lawsuit to force the issue. Then, aerial patrolling by the LAPD. We hear about noisy helicopters and quiet drones. Also, creative money-raising for city parks.

Image-for-WWLA.jpgOn our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, 18 states and Washington, DC have legalized medical marijuana. Voters in Colorado and Washington have approved recreational use — and 52 percent of Americans agree that's a good idea. Yet under federal law, marijuana is still as illegal as heroin. What's the Obama Administration to do? A crackdown might lead to a backlash. But can it enforce the law differently in different parts of the country?

Banner image: California DMV

Main Topic Law Enforcement: Technology and Privacy 10 MIN, 51 SEC

Special cameras on law enforcement patrol cars continuously scan the license plates of other drivers. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck calls them, "an investigative tool with unlimited potential." The Sheriff's Department says information from a license-plate scan helped solve a murder months after it happened, but the American Civil Liberties Union says there's a problem with privacy. The LAPD won't answer questions while there's a lawsuit pending.

Peter Bibring, ACLU of Southern California (@PeterBibring)
Steve Whitmore, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (@sheriffspio)

Main Topic LAPD Helicopters Patrol the Skies, but Do They Make Us Safer? 9 MIN, 35 SEC

The noise of police helicopters overhead has become a staple of life in Los Angeles. In some neighborhoods, it's a major annoyance. KCRW's Matt Holzman checked out the LAPD's aerial-surveillance center and found that replacing noisy choppers might pose a whole new set of problems. He reports that the legislature is looking at various proposed drone regulations. Meantime, if you want to find out why that helicopter is hovering over your neighborhood, you can call the LAPD Air Support Division.

Matt Holzman, Producer, 'The Document' (@KCRW_Matt)

Reporter's Notebook Steve Soboroff Pushes for Park Funding 5 MIN, 24 SEC

Last night, we asked mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel how long the city could go without a tax increase. We didn't get any answers. One popular department that's been stripped of funding in recent years is Recreation and Parks. Steve Soboroff is a former Department Commissioner and one-time mayoral candidate who's got some ideas about future funding.

Steve Soboroff, Los Angeles Police Commission (@SteveSoboroff)

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