Behind the Badge: How technology aids in fighting crime in Anderson Co.

Behind the Badge

CLINTON, Tenn. (WATE) — Imagine having the technology to stop crime before it happens. Believe it or not, that technology is already here and is being used around the country. Including Anderson County.

“One of the things we have tried to achieve since we’ve been in office is we want to go toward intelligence-led policing,” says Anderson County Sheriff Russell Barker.

One way the ACSO is doing that is by using LPRs, “These are license plate readers,” says Barker. The readers are supplied by Flock Safety out of Atlanta.

“Seventy percent of crime is committed with the use of a vehicle. Think about that!” says Flock VP of Marketing Josh Thomas. “This is about recognizing vehicle details that were involved in an incident. In a criminal incident.”

Basically, the cameras snap a picture showing a vehicle’s make, model, color, and license plate. From there, the information is sent to a database where it is compared against a list of vehicles known to be involved in other crimes.

“These are not speed cameras,” says Robert Hubbs of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, “These have nothing to do with anything except looking at that little number and comparing it to a known stolen car or a known hot plate.”

Once a match is made, then law enforcement can disperse officers to a given area immediately to make a stop.

“Our patrol guys are simply thrilled with it because they are getting real-time data and real-time alerts.” says Barker; and it’s a feeling shared by Hubbs: “We are able to take that tag information and compare it to a known database of stolen tags, and other wanted tags and make it actionable. Make it immediate in real-time.”

It should be stressed, vehicles that do not come up on the data base are then erased.

“It’s not tracking individual movements of every person,” says Thomas. “It’s only identifying the suspect’s vehicles and sending it to law enforcement. If that information isn’t needed it is then deleted.”

So how effective have the Flock cameras been for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office?

The numbers tell the story: “We’re looking at 23 cases since July,” says Hubbs, “and that’s multiple arrests involving those cases. We’re looking at 18 stolen vehicles that have been recovered.”

To read more about Flock Safety, go to their site page here.

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