Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No matter what they say, We're still the good guys

Okay...I have a lot of information floating around in my head and in my trusty spiral notebook..so the next couple of stories will be slimmed down in order to get out as much information as possible before these stories get too old:

Here's the link from wsmv.com concerning a proposal for Metro Police Dept to begin capturing Electronic Thumbprints .


Metro PD argues it will allow them to "go green" by reducing paper generated by tickets and enhance the process of identifying and retaining criminals by consolidating identification measures into an electronic database referencing outstanding warrants, personal information, and the electronic fingerprint.

I am against electronic fingerprinting..I would just like to say that I appreciate our Metro PD and respect the men and women for the job they do..day in and day out with little thanks and not enough pay.

(cut police officer pay)
(but we can afford this new shiny convention center...)

The above link details the recent decision to cut Metro Police Officers pay and benefits...yet somehow it is urgent that we build a $600 Million Dollar Convention Center!?! WTF!!!

Back to the whole "Give up your right to privacy if you have nothing to hide" ordeal. The paper ticket system works fine and paper is easier and more cost effective to recycle. The new technology to capture thumbprints would require possible new electronic notepads similar to a small laptop. Laptop components run a variety of battery sources..some which contain lithium-ion (an explosive hazard) and cadmium (a chemical that can easily poison soil/water). I attempted to call the Chief of Police, Ronald Serpas, and was given his email address (chiefofpolice@nashville.gov )

I wrote a professional email voicing my concerns and received a quick response from an Officer in the Identification Division. Here is a quote from his email response:

"Regarding your concerns about fingerprinting on citations, as you may know, fingerprints are used everyday at banks, grocery stores and other places when you write or cash checks. They are also used in other contexts such as applications for credit, employment, volunteer services, and others every day with little effect on the law abiding citizen. I am also aware of moves in the credit card industry, where identity theft is also a concern, to add fingerprints to credit card readers in stores and other similar venues.
What this technology does is simply streamline the officers workload. I am aware of no agency that uses fingerprints collected in this manner to build or maintain a database for other purposes. It is not our intent to build any such database or supply the information to any other agency to develop such a database."

I personally don't use credit cards or bank at places that require my thumbprints to cash a check. I understand how this could potentially help the Metro Police apprehend chronic offenders and career criminals...but it is an insult to the average law abiding citizen to be fingerprinted for a speeding ticket. I would rather sign my ticket and pay my fee. What's next mouth swabs at traffic stops? Very slowly personal freedoms are being fettered away.

I spoke with a Police Officer confirming the above report confirming they are indeed receiving a pay cut. I also heard an opinion from an officer that the electronic fingerprint capturing device will be too expensive and probably won't make it in the budget this year... 2009 is the new 1984..

-Fortunate Son

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