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Use of facial recognition approved by City of Detroit


Detroit police use of facial recognition will continue unfettered after City Council passed a contract to maintain the software. Activists have called to ban the technology completely citing its racial bias.

Many referred to incidents where at least two Black men were wrongly arrested by police in the city using facial recognition. Members of the Detroit Police Department say the agency now has strict policies to prevent that kind of mis-identification. Assistant Chief David LeValley says Detroit’s facial recognition software only uses mug shots from past arrestees. But he says investigators can send leads to the Michigan State Police.

“And they do have access to a much larger pool of photographs than we do,” said LeValley.

Researchers at Georgetown Law estimate Michigan State Police has access to about 45 million facial images including driver’s license photos. Detroit police say facial recognition has been used 106 times this year and has assisted in making 12 arrests in that time.