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Discussion to be made on license plate reader cameras allowed in Nashville

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    NASHVILLE (WSMV ) — Could license plate readers be in Nashville’s future?

That’s the question some of Metro’s leaders will consider on Monday.

Right now, cities like Belle Meade and Mount Juliet use the readers which scan license plates to find stolen cars, stolen tags, and missing people.

But in Nashville, only neighborhood associations and individual residents can put them up. That could all change on Monday.

A council committee is considering lifting the city ban, a decision that will include input from law enforcement, the ACLU, and the Community Oversight Board.

“What I’m understanding about LPR’s is that it’s not surveillance as much as it is a tool to solve a crime that has already been committed. So these LPR’s are only gathering data on license plates that are already identified, it’s not going back and surveilling and looking at footage,” Jennifer Gamble, with Metro Council, said.

So how do they work, and better yet, do they work? News4 took those questions to Belle Meade Police and they say they’ve installed their readers about two years ago.

If the system identifies a plate it’s searching for, officers and dispatchers get a real-time alert sent to their computers. That alert then tells them the situation they’re dealing with and where they need to go.

“We’ve been able to get a lot of stolen property back, arrest a lot of bad guys that are coming through… We usually average about ten hits a month. Some of those are for tags, some are for vehicles, different things, about 2-3 stolen vehicles per month. Where before we may get one a year,” Sergeant Chuck Williams, with the Belle Meade Police Department, said.

Nashville Councilwoman Gamble says at this point, it’s just a discussion.

There’s a long way to go if they decide the cameras would be a good idea. She’s just hoping for a fruitful conversation on Monday.

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