BELLE MEADE, Tenn. (WKRN) – While cities like Nashville grapple with the idea of putting up License Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras, other municipalities like Belle Meade have embraced the crime-fighting technology
The cameras first went up on 19 poles surrounding the city in 2016. Since then, criminals traveling through Belle Meade have often found themselves leaving the city in the back of a police car.
“It’s a force multiplier that actually gives us more manpower,” said Bell Meade Investigator, Tom Sexton.
Over the years, News 2 has documented dozens of cases where a person in a car, usually stolen from some other city makes the mistake of coming to Belle Meade.
“It is a very effective, proactive crime fighting tool,” said Sexton.
The technology also helped catch an alleged Nashville car thief.
“It’s a tool, no different than a flashlight, car radio, radar. We have to be moving forward with technology in law enforcement. We have to be.”
Besides crime-fighting, Sexton says the cameras have helped to locate missing persons, “We’ve found people who have dementia and Alzheimer’s.”
And they help keep an officer safe on a traffic stop.
“If an officer stops a car, they generally have no idea what that person has done, if that car is stolen, until they run the tag and engage the driver of the vehicle,” said Sexton. “With LPR, we know the car is stolen. We know that person may have committed a felony. The officer has time to think, where to stop. to call more calls in to assist. They have time to make a better plan which is safer for the officer.”
Belle Meade currently has 29 LPR’s and 60 cameras on those 19 poles.
News 2 is digging deeper into the impact of LPR cameras and the probability of them expanding into other Tennessee communities.