KINGSTON SPRINGS, Tenn. (WKRN) — A small town has a warning tonight for would be criminals — come to Kingston Springs and you will be noticed.
In September of last year, nearly $20,000 were spent to purchase seven automatic license plate readers (LPRs).
The cameras are situated at all ingress points to the town. Sgt. Jeremy Vaughan told News 2 you cannot enter this town of approximately 3,000 residents without a camera noticing your tag.
“It’s a great proactive tool. These are eyes out there for us working 24/7, checking every vehicle coming into our town. We want to know when criminals come to our town, because we don’t want them here,” Vaughan said.
Last month, cameras caught a Virginia couple in a stolen car. Police said the couple was on their way to California, had no money, no gas, no credit cards, and multiple car keys that neither suspect could explain how they obtained.
“Just made us think they were committing thefts from Virginia to here. They had no money or credit cards, so they had to get money somehow,” Vaughan said.
According to Vaughan, the cameras were instrumental in locating a car driven by a man now under investigation by Homeland Security for sex trafficking a young woman who was driving with him.
“She said she had been picked up in Texas, didn’t know where she was going, but she was being sold for sex,” Vaughan said.
Because of the LPR cameras, she is now safe while the man is being investigated.
“Like I said, this tool is more officers on the street. We are a small department of seven officers. We have seven additional officers out there checking every vehicle that comes through our town,” Vaughan added.
Since September, the new system has spotted 27 sex offenders, 11 stolen vehicles and identified two missing persons.
The seven cameras read close to 8,500 license tags per day, according to police.
Vaughan said the cameras cannot see inside the vehicles and they are not used for traffic enforcement. The license plate data is stored for approximately 30 days to aid in investigations before being deleted.