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Sheriff credits LPR with ‘seeing’ car at vape shop as stolen

Drug-sniffing dogs wos schoolchildren in Hamilton County, Tenn., the sheriff of which, Austin Garrett, has tag-sniffing cameras installed across the county in the interest of crime fighting. (Photo HSCO)

 CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Monday, Nov. 13, 2023 — The Thursday seizure of a car and the arrest of it driver is credited to Hamilton County’s extensive array of surveillance cameras known as LPR, or license plate readers.

As Hamilton County sheriff’s office’s spokesman Matt Lea tells it, a deputy patrolling Chattanooga on Thursday is alerted by the instant-notice of the LPR system in his cruiser that a car nearby might be stolen.

“The suspect vehicle was parked on the side of the road in front of a smoke shop,” Mr. Lea says. “The deputy pulled in behind the vehicle to verify the plate and its disposition. While waiting for additional details about the vehicle from dispatch, the suspect, Eyarawa Mervil, jumped in the vehicle and pulled away.”

The deputy, evidently having received probable cause from the camera system’s link to the EIVS system run by the department of revenue in Nashville, flashes his blue lights and pulls over the 2018 Dodge Journey at 700 Market Street. The car is reported to have been stolen in Florida.

The department has installed 121 cameras in the county, in cooperation with city governments.

This incident is one of many recent crimes that have been proactively solved by the use of ALPR cameras. As Sheriff, it is my vision for our agency to lead the way in the utilization of technology-based tools and intelligence-led law enforcement practices as we continue to seek ways to make our operations more efficient and allow us to provide a higher level law enforcement services for the citizens we are proud to serve.

 — Sheriff Austin Garrett

The deputy, without first obtaining a warrant, arrests Eyarawa Mervil and takes the person to the jail for booking.

From left, Jeff Long, commissioner of safety;; Sheriff Austin Garrett; Congressman Chuck Fleischmann; and Hamilton County Mayor Weston Wamp. Surveillance of the people, ostensibly to fight crime, is approved by such appointed and elected people as these. (Photo HCSO)

One Response

  1. John Britt

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