After years of debate, the future of license plate readers will be decided at Metro Council

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Posted at 4:58 PM, Dec 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-06 19:28:31-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Council has been debating about it for years now, but it officially comes down to a vote Tuesday night — should Metro Police be allowed to use license plate readers?

Metro Councilmember Joy Styles points to recent illegal street racing problems in Antioch as one of the many reasons she's fought for the technology.

"I had my own version of the fast and furious just a couple of months ago -- I had 150 cars here at the mall, doing donuts, dropping trash," said Styles. "We know that these work, we know that we can capture violent offenders. We can capture Amber Alerts, silver alerts, right? And there’s also the opportunity in the future to use this for reckless driving."

The technology can detect license plate numbers connected to crimes, which can help police capture criminals faster. That's why Style's legislation would officially launch a six-month trial run of the LRP program. If it's deemed successful, Metro Council can vote in another six months to make the program permanent.

"Even when they’re on a fixed pole, they’re not watching you and your movements. If you haven’t committed a crime, you have nothing to worry about," said Styles.

But Jill Fitcheard, executive director of the Community Oversight Board, isn't convinced.

"MNPD has had over 10 months to work on that. "I think what we want to do is make certain that how the implantation is going is going to protect the civil rights and civil liberties of the people of this community as well as what is the cost to the city for these things?" asked Fitcheard.

She wants more specifics, and without them, she hopes council members will hit the brakes on the plan. "Defer this for a couple of meetings, for at least two meetings, so we can talk about the SOPs and policies, we can talk about the cost," said Fitcheard.

Metro Council will also hold a public comment hearing for this legislation before the council votes on it. NewsChannel 5's Emily Luxen is covering the meeting for the station. Follow her on social media for the latest on the vote.

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