The Metro Nashville City Council voted to pass a resolution this week that would allow license plate readers to be installed in the Nashville metro area. The resolution (RS2022-1883) passed by a 22-13-1 vote.
The resolution “authorizes the Metropolitan Government to enter into an agreement with private entities to acquire, share, or otherwise use surveillance technology, and install surveillance technology onto or within the public right of way,” according to the Metro Government of Nashville & Davidson County Legislative Information Center.
The vote follows the completion of a six-month pilot program of license plate readers, which the city council approved earlier this year, as previously reported by The Tennessee Star.
While there were many in favor, approximately 15 people in the audience of the council meeting raised their hands in opposition of the resolution that would continue the program.
Nashville Chief of Police John Drake and District Attorney Glenn Funk both spoke at the meeting, with Drake clarifying that the license plate readers will solely be used to catch criminals and to solve crimes.
“I want to be very clear. Our police department wants to use license plate readers to identify suspects who flee from scenes and identify people in carjackings. We want to help find children who are missing and our senior citizens who are missing as well. We have no interest in using them for any other purpose than what I stated,” Chief Drake stated.
Chief Drake pledges an upfront process geared toward enhanced public safety for all of Nashville after the Metro Council tonight approved a 6 month pilot for license plate reader technology in Nashville. Chief Drake spoke at a public hearing just before the Council's vote. pic.twitter.com/XswMQ0Ogln
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) December 7, 2022
Jill Fitcheard, executive director of the Nashville Community Oversight Board, also spoke at the council meeting and requested that voting on the resolution be deferred for two meetings regarding the Community Oversight Board not receiving adequate information about the pilot program process for the license plate readers.
“The Community Oversight Board urges council to defer voting on this legislation by at least two meetings. Since council’s approval of a pilot program for license plate readers back in February, the Community Oversight Board and community have been kept in the dark about the pilot programs progress,” Fitcheard stated at the council meeting.
“My concerns are more about what we as a community don’t know,” Fitcheard added.
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Chief Drake Pledges an Upfront Process Geared Toward Enhanced Public Safety for All of Nashville After the Metro Council Tonight Approved a Six Month Pilot for License Plate Reader Technology in Nashville” by Metro Nashville PD.