Effingham County has approved it, (the City of) Guyton has already approved it and (the City of) Springfield is in the process, also.Jonathan Murrell, Rincon police chief
RINCON — Eyes that never close may soon watch over parts of Rincon.
During its March 22 meeting, the Rincon City Council considered a request for approval for Blue Line Solutions to install Automated Speed Enforcement Technology (ASET) in school zones on Fort Howard Road and North Columbia Avenue. ASETs are already in use in a few school zones in nearby jurisdictions.
Chief Jonathan Murrell of the Rincon Police Department provided information for the council to consider.
“Effingham County has approved it, (the City of) Guyton has already approved it and (the City of) Springfield is in the process, also,” he said.
ASETs identify vehicles and capture their speed through the use of a laser beam. Blue Line Solutions touts their speed calculating ability as 100 percent accurate.
According to the Blue Line Solutions proposal, there would be no cost to the City of Rincon to use the devices. The City of Rincon would receive 65 percent of revenue from ASET-issued speeding tickets and Blue Line Solutions would get 35 percent.
ASETs are equipped with cameras that take pictures of license plates, allowing Blue Solutions to determine the owner of violating vehicles so that tickets can be mailed to them. The license plate readers can also alert the police when registered sex offenders are near schools or assist in Amber alerts.
Councilmen Reese Browher asked City Attorney Raymond Dickey if license plate readers have been challenged in court based on privacy issues.
Dickey said, “I think (the law allowing their use) was just passed so my answer to that is, ‘Probably not. No. Not yet.”
Blue Line Solutions representative Ryan Moore estimated that 35 percent of Georgia State Patrol cars feature license plate readers.
“Any tag, because it is displayed in the public — the courts have determined that to be public information,” Murrell interjected, adding that his department currently has three license plate readers for use in patrol cars.
Moore pointed out that the suspect in the March 16 killing spree at Atlanta-area massage parlors was caught through the use of a license plate reader.
“It picked up the tag in five minutes,” he said.
Councilman Levi Scott joined Patrick Kirkland in voicing support for the proposal.
“I think it has its pros and cons,” Scott said. “I understand Reese’s concern to a point but I can understand the need to know for what is going on in this country now — the need to know what is happening and who is coming through, and who is leaving ...”
Scott noted that he has experience with ASET-issued tickets because one of his family members got caught speeding while using one of his cars in Atlanta.
“It was good because I was able to sit him down and show him the back end of that car with tag number,” Scott said. “I know I am responsible. I paid the ticket but .... It has a lot of good points.”
After some more discussion, the council opted to table the request until Dickey can research court cases involving ASETs and plate readers.