NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — After years of debate, Metro Council voted to launch a six-month license plate reader pilot program last December, and the readers will go up throughout Davidson County in the coming weeks.
License plate readers, or LPRs, automatically detect license plate numbers connected to crimes. The technology has helped many police departments, including Mt. Juliet and Hendersonville, catch criminals, recover stolen cars, and locate missing people.
Metro police will install 39 LPRs total, including 24 fixed readers which will be spread equally throughout the county, and five mobile LPRs officers can move to target crime trends in different areas. In addition, 10 police patrol cars will be equipped with LPR technology.
For Stephanie Spaunhorst, whose husband, Chris Spaunhorst, was shot and killed while driving on I-24 on Christmas Day in a possible road rage incident, any tool police can use to gather information is beneficial.
Metro investigators continue to search for information in Chris’ case, however, officers have only released that the suspect was driving a black Kia Optima with chrome rims.
Stephanie told News 2 LPRs are worth the possible privacy concerns some worry about if it helps solve crime.
“If it helps, then it’s not an issue, because God forbid you’re in this part of it, you’re in these shoes. You’re going to feel different about stuff,” Stephanie said.
Despite some people’s concerns for privacy, police have assured the public this system only captures images of license plate numbers on vehicles wanted by law enforcement. If there is a hit in the LPR system, the technology will also capture an image of the vehicle and pinpoint where the image was taken.
Metro police will not use license plate readers for the general surveillance of any citizen, to repossess vehicles, or use for expired tag enforcement, driver’s license status enforcement, or insurance enforcement.
Metro police can store license plate numbers connected to crimes for 10 days before they are automatically deleted from the system.
Stephanie believes LPRs will be another tool officers can use to help solve crime for the greater good, and to prevent future crimes so more people don’t have to suffer.
“To know that somebody else’s family doesn’t have to go through this because it’s horrible, to know that nobody else’s family could be affected by this, by the hands of this individual, getting them off the streets, and getting justice for him is important,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie hopes to plan a benefit concert to raise money to increase her cash reward for information leading to an arrest in her husband’s homicide case.
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If you have any information on the black Kia Optima with chrome rims, or if you saw Chris’ blue Ford F-150 truck around noon Christmas Day, you’re asked to call Nashville Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.
Tipsters can stay anonymous, and may qualify for a cash reward.
To learn where LPRs will be placed in Davidson County, along with other information about the program, click here.