Driver concerned Bexar deputy scanned irises; Device turns out to be electronic ticket writer

Bexar County says scanner device used to write tickets faster, get deputies off side of streets

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man's concerns that a Bexar County Precinct 3 Deputy Constable used a laser to scan his irises -- possibly in violation of his privacy -- turned out to be simply a high-tech way to write tickets.

Greg Carnevale said he was driving north on Highway 281 and was trying to exit Thousand Oaks when his lane change led a Bexar County deputy constable to pull him over.

"He asked me for my driver's license and insurance," Carnevale said, describing the initial conversation with the deputy.

The KSAT employee said he provided those and then watched as technology went to work.

"He scanned the registration sticker on my windshield," Carnevale said. "He then scanned my driver's license."

Then he says the deputy trained his device on Carnevale's eyes.

"And I looked into the red lights and there was all these little red lasers in there," Carnevale said.

He worried this was an iris scan.

"It's a form of (fingerprinting)," Carnevale said. "It's like taking someone's DNA. I don't think that's right because it's a privacy concern."

The Precinct 3 Constable's office confirmed that deputies do indeed use lasers during traffic stops.

However, Deputy Blake Liedka said it is just to gather information and that there are no iris scans.

Liedka said the small device used on Carnevale is an electronic ticket writer that helps officers get off the street faster.

"Instead of having to physically stand and hand-write the ticket and take that much time, everything is basically electronic," Liedka said.

He scans a bar code on drivers licenses.

"Scan the driver's license and it'll automatically fill in the fields for the drivers license," Liedka said. "(And) read the bar code on the registration and it'll tell you who it is, what it is. You don't have to fill anything out. It does it all by itself."

As for looking into the red lights, he said that is just a camera.

"You don't scan any eyes, you don't scan anything like that," Liedka said. "The only thing you get on the device is a physical picture of your face."

Then the ticket prints out.

Carnevale said he is relieved this is a technological advance and not an invasion of privacy and will pay the ticket.

Carnevale asked for the dash cam video from the constable car but said he was told that car did not have a camera.

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