NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN)- On Tuesday, the Metro Nashville Community Oversight Board made a firm stance against the use of license plate readers within the metro area.
The official statement of opposition came just hours before the Metro Council voted to defer its decision on whether or not the bill will move forward to its third and final reading. Now, the bill will be on the agenda for the council’s second meeting in January.
“We have a shortage of police officers. I support our police officers, I want them to have every tool they can have, to do the job that they need to do for our city,” explained Metro Councilmember Joy Styles.
Styles has been a longtime supporter of LPRs and has been pushing for the legislation to pass. However, she is aware there is a lot of misunderstanding on how and what the technology will be used for.
“License plate readers do just that. A license plate reader is reading your plate, it is not looking for facial recognition at all, it is not tracking your movements, the whole goal is to run it and see has the plate been stolen, has the vehicle been stolen,” explained Councilmember Styles.
The cameras would be used to track violent crimes being committed, reckless drivers, those who are wanted by police, and even in missing person’s cases, such as AMBER and Silver Alerts.
The Community Oversight Board is now raising their concerns.
“Sometimes we get stopped for not what we do, but what we look like, and so I’m not for it,” said one board member, during Monday’s meeting.
He explained, the thought came as he remembered when he was pulled over and felt the officer was more concerned about who he was rather than issuing a citation. He explained the encounter came just two days before the LPR bill went before Metro Council members back in November, and immediately, he thought about how the situation may have been different if LPR cameras were in use.
Another concern brought up by the board was privacy concerns. Makayla McCree explained during Monday’s meeting, that the “majority of the members of the community that I’ve had a chance to engage surrounding LPRs, at bare minimum have had hesitation about the privacy concerns if not are completely against them.”
Now, the oversight board is looking into the possibility that the LPR bill does pass if the board would be tasked with overseeing the cameras are used properly.