Saturday, May 16, 2009

Police State Bill Proposed for Tennessee

Day by day our rights are eroded. We are criminals unless we can prove otherwise. What would be next...DNA samples? Oops, don't want to give our law makers any ideas.

Tennessee speeders could get fingerprinted
By Nicole Young • THE TENNESSEAN • May 16, 2009

Motorists stopped for traffic violations in Tennessee could be fingerprinted if state lawmakers approve a bill pending in the legislature

Currently, when drivers are cited during traffic stops, police officers ask for the driver's signature on the ticket, but the proposed bill would allow police departments to eliminate signatures and collect fingerprints.Supporters say collecting fingerprints would save money and help police determine whether the driver is wanted for a criminal offense, but opponents worry that it allows the government to tread on individual privacy rights.

State Sen. Joe Haynes and State Rep. Mike Stewart co-sponsored the bill, which gives police departments the choice of collecting a signature or a fingerprint, or collecting a signature and a fingerprint. The bill has been approved by the state House of Representatives, and senators will vote on the measure Wednesday.

If the bill is approved, the Metro Nashville Police Department plans to start requiring fingerprints by the end of the year. Police reports would be filed electronically, as would traffic and misdemeanor citations."This police department intends to use the fingerprint the same way as a signature is currently used," Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said. "If a person who has stolen someone's identity gives a wrong name, an officer will be able to catch that immediately. And, if they have an outstanding warrant, be it for a misdemeanor or a serious felony, an officer will be able to see that as well."

Instead of purchasing electronic signature pads to allow motorists to sign for traffic tickets, Metro wants to use electronic fingerprint readers because they cost about $500,000 less than signature pads.

In Metro, 151,587 traffic citations were issued in 2007. On average, Metro police say, between 12,000 and 13,000 moving violations are issued per month.

Chris Stanley, 19, a student at Nashville Auto Diesel College, has received two tickets since moving to Nashville a year ago. "I wouldn't give them my fingerprint,'' he said. "They would have to arrest me."

According to Aaron, someone who refuses to provide a fingerprint will be arrested.

"It would be the same thing as a person not signing for a citation if they were stopped today," he said. "This department has no plans to create a database for all these fingerprints. They won't be captured and kept forever."

Rep. Stacey Campfield, a Knoxville Republican, is skeptical and takes issue with the legislation. "If someone said this 15 to 20 years ago, people would be rioting about it. Now it just seems like a lot of people are giving up and giving away their freedoms," Campfield said. "It's scary. I really think that these fingerprints will be used to create a database eventually, if not right away. If you don't think it is, then you're just kidding yourself."

If the bill passes, Tennessee would join other states and cities that have adopted fingerprinting for traffic citations.

The police department in Green Bay, Wis., has been fingerprinting traffic offenders for two years, said Lt. Mark Hellman. Some citizens were concerned at first, he said.

"I think they saw that it wasn't that big of deal, and that the ones who were most worried about it were likely the ones who were doing something wrong," Hellmann said. "What they didn't understand was that a routine traffic stop on the street is an arrest, technically, even if you aren't taken into physical custody, and during an arrest, you are fingerprinted." {more}


  1. I love my criminal past. Love to hear paranoid cops on the radio discussing my "priors" Drugs weapons theft, ooooh a bad guy eh? Love it when they point their guns at me and blubber stupidly when they discover its only a cookie in my hand. Life would get boring without them. Beagle boy 66104

  2. "This department has no plans to create a database for all these fingerprints. They won't be captured and kept forever."-----

    But forever is a long time. How about keeping them just short of that time frame, or at least until we completely succumb to the tyrannts?

    Wonder if the majority of those being pulled over for "speeding" have Ron Paul for President bumper stickers or bumper stickers that question the Fed or the IRS?