Invasion of privacy or an easy way to catch criminals?"All the officer has to do is just drive down the street and the camera does all the capturing," said Danville Police Officer Jerry Pace.
It's a police officer's easiest tool on the road.
"A camera pointed to the front to catch on coming vehicles as the officer is approaching and passing them or parked on that side," Officer Pace said.
A photograph no driver can avoid.
These small boxes called automatic license plate readers, placed strategically on the back of two Danville police cars, watch the roads and what's on them better than any man could.
Anytime the police car with the device passes any car, whether it's in motion or not, these readers will snap a photograph of your license place. That automatically gets sent to a server where police can see if the car is wanted.
Each picture records the time, date, exact location and is stored in a database.
The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, says that's too invasive.
Monday the group asked police agencies in 35 states for details on how the system is used and how long all that data is stored.
"Our concern is not with the legitimate use of license plate readers, for example to identify stole vehicles or identity vehicles associated with a crime. Our Concern is with the long term storage of location information," said Rebecca Glenberg, the Legal Director for the ACLU of Virginia.
Danville, for example, bought the system two years ago and has stockpiled thousands of images the cameras have recorded.
The ACLU says policies should be tightened before police agencies start creating an even more detailed picture of your every move.
"It seems that there are widely varying policies among different police agencies and that some of the policies may be broader then others. But we don't have any details and that's why we're making a request," Glenberg said.
15 agencies in Virginia received that request including Danville.
A police spokesperson says the department is reviewing the ACLU's investigation.