LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) — License plate readers are now installed in the City of Lebanon. It’s a tool several other Middle Tennessee communities, like Mt. Juliet and Belle Meade, are already using to prevent crime from entering their borders.
Lebanon Police spokesman PJ Hardy said the cameras only capture a car’s license plate and will not be used to track individuals or for general traffic stops. They will help police locate stolen cars or wanted suspects.
“These will not be used for any type of traffic enforcement. They will not be used for any type of tracking of individuals. Honestly, if we wanted to track individuals, we’d just tap into their phone. Everybody has a phone and they’re completely trackable,” Hardy said.
The machines were installed about two weeks ago on major roads entering Lebanon. Hardy says there are currently four license plate cameras in use and 10 more to be installed.
“It will alert us when they’re actually coming into the area and hopefully we can locate and stop the vehicle before it goes into our neighborhoods,” Hardy said.
Within the first week of the license plate camera installations, the system identified a stolen car that entered Lebanon from another city. Police stopped it and found Kentrez Burford inside along with fentanyl, cocaine, prescription drugs, 30 blank COVID-19 vaccination cards and 20 fake test results.
“It’s just another tool that we can use to keep our citizens safe,” Hardy said.
Hardy said if the program is successful the police department will likely purchase even more of the devices to install around town.
“It’s something that surrounding communities have all throughout the state and all throughout the US. It’s a great tool for us to be able to hopefully deter the criminal element from even coming into our community,” Hardy said. “If they do come into our community it gives us a little bit of a heads up and head start to try and take care of the situation.”