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Community Oversight Board makes motion opposing license plate readers

license plate reader
Posted at 10:03 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 11:51:38-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — They're used in many Nashville suburbs, but when it comes to license plate readers in the city, many are opposed to the idea.

The Community Oversight Board met Monday evening where a majority of the members say the community has spoken about their thoughts on license plate readers.

"Stand for something, you'll fall for anything, and the people that I represent in the community from all walks of life, they are against this license plate reader," said Walter Holloway, a former police officer and member of the board.

Key issues of concern from the meeting were who would have access to cameras and what types of crimes for which they would be used.

License plate readers, or LPRs, register license plate characters and match them with databases of wanted cars, help solve Amber Alerts and catch violent criminals on the run.

Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake has spoken publicly in support of LPRs, but MNPD is waiting on legislation before making any moves.

"It is a council decision, if it is done the board will have oversight," said Joe Brown, a board member and retired judge. "I think it will just say no. We're going to put ourselves in a poor position and argue for oversight or anything else."

But the C.O.B. is making a move on the issue.

There are two proposals in Metro Council regarding the use of LPRs.

One bill would allow license plate readers in police cars but wouldn’t allow the city to use them on streets.

The collected data would only be able to be kept for a day, unless it’s matched to a crime.

The other proposal would use license plate readers for catching traffic and parking violations. As well as reckless driving and violent crimes.

This bill allows the data to be stored for up to 30 days or longer if it’s being used as evidence.

The C.O.B. made a motion where the majority voted in opposition to adopt any of the license plate reader bills at this time.

"I think we have an obligation as a board to take a position and to lead the community conversation one way or another," said board member Makayla McCree.

Some members expressed hearing more evidence and research about LPRs from national law enforcement organizations.

On Tuesday, Metro Council members are expected to discuss a proposal that would bring the cameras to Nashville.