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Governor's Task Force assists law enforcement

Screven County motorists probably got a little more police presence than they’re used to on the county’s roads last Friday, but it wasn’t because law enforcement officers were hunting down a murderer or wanted individual. More than 50 law enforcement officers from various areas came to help the Screven County Sheriff’s Office run their new tag reader.
Sheriff Mike Kile said the $16,000 tag reader mounted on the back of a cruiser was given to the office for a two-month trial period free of charge. Kile said he’ll try and get the Screven County Commissioners to agree to purchase the reader after as it will pay for itself in about 53 driving without insurance citations (a $300 to $500 fine).
Tag readers have been seen as a threat to privacy by some, but Kile said it was simply automatically checking plates and that’s nothing a deputy can’t already do. No information will be stored other than those who received citations, he said.
The technology allows three cameras at different angles to take a picture of moving or stationary vehicles and decipher the license plate, search the law enforcement database for any known violations – like no valid license or wanted individuals – and then pull up a warning on the deputy’s screen if there is a violation. Those without violations will not pop up on the screen.
“Right now we’re using it as a stationary checkpoint with a chase car,” Kile said.
Now the sheriff’s office will run infrequent random checkpoints using the tag reader. Last Friday was almost like an introduction to the public of the machine.
There were an estimated 49 citations written and at least two people arrested because of the checkpoints. The citations are broken down as follows: three expired tag/registration, one driving license suspended/revoked, two driving without license, one driver’s license violation, three no license in person, one failure to show proof of insurance, four suspended registration, 13 speeding, one failure to obey person directing traffic, one operating motorcycle without helmet, four failure to restrain minor, and three restraint violation 16 years and older. There were 12 additional tickets filed by Georgia State Patrol.
The law enforcement officers were attending a Governor’s Taskforce traffic safety meeting in the county and decided to help the sheriff by running checkpoints, bolstering the police’s presence.