CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The city of Clarksville may add license plate readers (LPRs) in the community as an added public safety measure next month. 

A resolution set for discussion at a January Clarksville City Council meeting would express support for an LPR system for the Clarksville Police Department, according to Communications Director Jimmy Settle. 

The city previously approved and installed mobile LPR equipment in 2010 and has had a subscription to private LPR data for “several years.”

According to Settle, Police Chief David Crockarell, as well as Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts, began introducing the concept of LPRs, what they do and what they don’t do earlier in December before leaders of both the Hispanic community and NAACP. The information-sharing process within the community is ongoing, according to a release. 

“As law enforcement technology continues to evolve and advance, let me applaud Chief Crockarell and our Police Department for responsibly and carefully choosing to implement License Plate Readers,” Pitts said. “Just as we did when body-worn cameras were first introduced, our Police Department carefully evaluated the effectiveness of this technology to expand our ability to protect the public. The addition of License Plate Readers at key state highway intersections will be a lifesaver for our citizens.” 

The police chief said the implementation of the technology would be in line with the department’s mission of being “dedicated to providing a safe environment to our citizens and visitors.” 

“Clarksville is one of the safest large cities in Tennessee,” Crockarell said. “The primary goal of this program is to reduce victimization, solve and reduce violent crime and locate the missing. I appreciate the support I have received from Mayor Pitts and leadership from the NAACP and the Hispanic community. I am confident that our city council members share the same goals and will show their support as well.” 

The LPRs will be directed at vehicles traveling on state route rights-of-way only, not in neighborhoods or at commercial storefronts, according to Crockarell. 

The data collected from them can automatically be compared to an approved law enforcement “hot list.” Crockarell said the LPRs would be used to enhance investigative capabilities by gathering leads to investigate crimes reported to CPD and other law enforcement agencies. 

Additionally, the technology will reportedly assist CPD in its mission to reduce crime, specifically crimes where vehicles are involved, such as homicides, violent assaults, armed robberies and carjackings. The LPRs can also be used to reduce stolen vehicle cases that begin as vehicle burglaries as well as locating the missing, including runaway children, AMBER and Silver Alerts. 

What the LPRs and CPD will not do, however, is focus on the driver of the vehicle, Crockarell said. The camera would only be directed at the vehicle tag area and would not provide facial recognition or vehicle occupant identification. It would also not be used in prosecuting minor traffic violations like speeding, nor would the data be shared with immigration enforcement or used for general surveillance, per the police chief. 

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According to the release issued by the City of Clarksville, CPD has been appropriated state funds and submitted a letter of intent to launch the LPR program. 

With continued support, CPD will submit a final portion of the application for the project at an estimated cost of under $20,000, according to a statement. From there, the project would be permitted, followed by the installation of the cameras exclusively along state highway routes. 

The list of locations is not yet finalized, but possible locations include: 

  • Tiny Town Road/Preachers Mill Road  
  • Fort Campbell Boulevard south of state Highway 374 
  • Fort Campbell Boulevard at State Line Road 
  • Wilma Rudolph Boulevard at Needmore Road 
  • Madison Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway 
  • Providence Boulevard at Preachers Mill Road 
  • State Highway 48/13 at Riverside Drive 
  • College Street at Kraft Street 
  • Interstate 24 Exits 1, 4, 8, and 11