JUNE 12, 2024

Evansville Police Department

15 NW Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Evansville, Indiana 47708

Recently, my command staff became aware of a misuse of a law enforcement technology called Clearview AI by an individual who was, at the time, a member of this agency. That person is no longer affiliated with the Evansville Police Department in any way. But I’ll come back to that.

The Clearview AI software allows law enforcement to utilize facial recognition for investigatory purposes. This has proven to be a very useful tool for our officers in terms of developing lead information for investigations. To ensure that the software is used for its intended purposes, we have put in place internal operational guidelines and adhere to the Clearview AI terms of service. Both have language that clearly states that this is a tool for official use and is not to be used for personal reasons.

But in March, when we were in talks with Clearview AI about renewing our subscription – and were looking into how many licenses to renew – we performed an audit on the usage of Clearview AI by our officers. At that point, we observed an anomaly of very high usage of the software by an officer whose work output was not indicative of the number of inquiry searches that they had. A closer look at the digital footprint left behind revealed that this officer was utilizing an actual case number associated with an actual incident to disguise their searches of people who had nothing to do with the incident. We further located the images that this officer searched for, and they were unlike the types of images searched during legitimate investigatory searches. During legitimate inquiries, the types of images are usually live or CCTV images. This officer’s searches consisted mainly of social media images.

Upon learning of this, I immediately instructed the officer’s chain of command to interview them and allow them to explain this anomaly. They were unable to do so to my satisfaction.

Given the information that I had available to me at the time, I placed the officer on paid administrative leave until the chain of command concluded its investigation.

When that investigation made clear that this officer was using Clearview AI for Evansville Police Department personal purposes, I placed them on a 21-day unpaid suspension and made a verbal recommendation to the Police Merit Commission that they terminate this officer’s employment with the Evansville Police Department. This officer did not contest the 21-day suspension that I imposed, and they resigned before the Police Merit Commission could make a final determination on the matter.

Philip Smith

Chief of Police

Evansville Police Department



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