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Tennessee license plate reader camera law named for Caitlyn Kaufman under review

Caitlyn Kaufman in her Butler County Community College graduation portrait, which was taken in 2018 when she graduated from the nursing program. Kaufman, a Chicora native, was shot and killed on her way into work at a Nashville, Tenn., hospital on Dec. 3, 2020.

As the trial for the two men charged in the shooting death of Butler County native Caitlyn Kaufman in Tennessee slowly approaches, implementation of a law that bears her name and allows for cameras to be installed along interstate highways is being held up due to a review.

The Caitlyn Kaufman Interstate Safety Act, which was singed into Tennessee law in May 2021, is being vetted by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the governor’s office, the state’s Department of Safety, and Homeland Security for privacy and other issues

“It took me two years to get the bill passed,” said state Rep. Mark White, a Republican who represents part of Shelby County and sponsored the bill in the state House.

Automatic license plate readers (ALPR) are in use on other roads in the state, but the law was needed in order to use them on interstates and state highways, White said.

His bill was merged with a Senate bill and passed both chambers before Gov. Bill Lee signed it into law.

The law allows police to use ALPR cameras for criminal investigations and searches for missing people, White said. If the cameras had been in place on Dec. 3, 2020, they could have have helped police arrest the suspects in Kaufman’s death sooner, he said.

“She was on Interstate 440 going to work. She was shot from another car. We were told we could have caught them earlier if we had this,” White said.

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Related Article: Tennessee license plate reader camera law named for Caitlyn Kaufman under review