The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –
Metro City Council in Nashville voted Tuesday night to prevent License Plate Reader data from being used to enforce immigration laws. The measure passed in a vote of 32-1 with only council member Robert Swope opposing.
Automatic License Plate Readers (LPR) can be used to find those who are driving recklessly, those wanted by police and people involved in AMBER and SILVER alerts. The cities of Mount Juliet and Belle Meade currently operate LPR successfully.
***Click HERE to support Conservative Journalism in Tennessee. We can’t cover stories like this without your support!***
Metro has committed to a six-month LPR pilot program after debating the proposal for more than a year, but there is no announced timeline as to when the system will be up and running. When it is operational, local law enforcement will not be allowed to share data from the cameras with federal authorities in order to identify, apprehend, detain or remove illegal aliens.
However, state law requires local police departments to cooperate with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to verify or report a person’s immigration status.
State leaders including Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton have criticized the council’s decision saying that Metro “doesn’t get to decide which state or federal laws they enforce.”
The pilot program will place LPR to capture images of license plates as they pass. The images captured will be kept for 10 days and then deleted. Law enforcement may only access the data if there is reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.
The LPR program in Mount Juliet triggers an alert when a license plate is associated with a crime and on a hotlist, generated from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. The technology does not know who is driving or who is in the car and does not access the Department of Safety’s license plate database to determine who owns the vehicle. No facial recognition is employed with the program.
Metro’s six-month trial will allow Nashville police to check images of license plates against the plate numbers of vehicles that have been stolen. Police will also be able to use the LPR data to cross reference for vehicles flagged for potential connections to violent crime, felony offenses, reckless driving or missing persons.
About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org.