FRANKLIN COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Law enforcement in southern Middle Tennessee is answering questions about an imminent license plate reader (LPR) program coming to the county.
Franklin County law enforcement agencies, spearheaded by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, will soon have LPR cameras installed across the county. Called S.A.I.N.T.—Surveillance Assisting Investigations, Narcotics, and Traffic—the program will see 9 different locations across Franklin County have cameras installed to aid police and deputies in the county with investigations.
The program is funded by a Violent Crime Intervention Fund grant from the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs. According to the grant contract documents, the total cost for the cameras will be $174,000. Each camera costs $4,200, per a breakdown of the costs in the contract.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office says the LPRs do not gather any personal data from drivers and are not connected to the Tennessee registration database. The captured plate data cannot be stored by law enforcement for longer than 90 days, per state law, and the LPRs do not generate any citations for any offenses, they added.
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Further, there are limited members of law enforcement who can access the data in the system, the sheriff’s office said.
Instead, what the cameras do, according to the sheriff’s office, is take a picture of the license plate of a vehicle and access the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for vehicles entered into that system only. According to FCSO Public Information Officer Sgt. Sam Davidson, it will still be up to an individual officer to confirm a vehicle in their jurisdiction has an NCIC hit. The officer must then have probable cause or reasonable suspicion in order to pull that vehicle over: the LPR hit alone does not suffice, Davidson said.
The department will be purchasing the L5F and L6Q models of LPR cameras from Vigilant Solutions; the L6Q cameras will be suitable for solar applications, while the L5Fs will need to be affixed to poles near power lines for their electricity.
All the proposed LPR locations must be approved by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, according to county documents, but once TDOT has given the OK, FCSO will order and oversee the installation of the LPR cameras.
Davidson told News 2 he and the rest of the Franklin County law enforcement community are looking forward to getting the LPR cameras installed to aid their investigations.
“We feel confident that this system is going to benefit our county,” he said.
The locations are still being finalized, but Davidson said they are looking at the most travelled routes in and out of the county, and state law requires the cameras be installed on state routes.