The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) runs the Tactical Identification System (TACIDS) face recognition system through its Automated Regional Justice Information System (ARJIS). At least 66 agencies have access to the system, at least 28 of which currently run searches (013762, 005699). TACIDS searches a database of 1.4 million mug shots (008449), but does not allow searches of license photos or real-time face recognition from video feeds (016621). TACIDS is accessible by mobile devices used by officers in the field, and solely designed for identification of arrestees, detainees, and the incapacitated—not after-the-fact investigations (016619–016620, 008389). Officers need reasonable suspicion to run a search (005723). The system use policy is public and must be approved annually by local elected officials (008453).
The system is not without concerns. SANDAG contracted with a face recognition company, FaceFirst, which claims to have “the industry’s finest” technology, including an algorithm provided by Cognitec “[w]ith an identification rate above 95%.” However, that statistic is a decade old, and in its contracts with SANDAG, FaceFirst repeatedly disclaims any liability for “representations or warranties as to the accuracy” of its face recognition system (008358, 008493). According to the Acceptable Use Policy, while SANDAG reserves the right to enforce the policy, “[i]dentifying and addressing intentional misconduct is the responsibility of the individual agency” (008452). However at least one member agency, the Carlsbad Police Department, reported no audits (000149).
African Americans are likely overrepresented in the system; in San Diego County, they’re arrested at a rate 202% higher than their population share.
Sources and Notes: SANDAG, FaceFirst, NIST, California Office of the California Attorney General, U.S. Census (Last updated: September 2016). You can review our scorecard criteria in the Methodology section. Numerical citations, e.g. (123456), refer to official records available by clicking "View Documents" below.