Traffic Law Violators May Soon Be Fingerprinted In Tennessee


Two Democrats in Tennessee have sponsored legislation that will allow police departments throughout the state to mandate fingerprinting of traffic law violators when they are stopped and cited by an officer. Instead of the traditional release-upon-signature method used virtually everywhere in this country Tennesseans are looking at being forced to give their fingerprint during traffic stops if the bill, which has already made it through the House, passes the Senate and is signed into law by the Democrat Governor Phil Bredesen.

The reasoning behind the push for fingerprinting motorists who are stopped for traffic violations is said to be a much more efficient way to nab people who are wanted on criminal warrants, those who have stolen another person’s identity and folks providing false information to police officers.

A traffic violation citation is actually an arrest and release on one’s own recognizance by the officer as long as the person signs the ticket. If someone refuses to sign the citation they will, in virtually every instance, wind up getting arrested and taken down to the local pokey so most folks save themselves the hassle and just sign the “promise to appear” while not admitting they are guilty of the offense. Those who refuse to submit a fingerprint under the new law will also be arrested then fingerprinted once they get to the police station so there is obviously no incentive to resist the process.

Many who oppose this legislation are concerned about their privacy and are worried about the compilation of fingerprints into a government database even though some law enforcement officials in Tennessee claim prints will not be collected and stored. Personally I cannot believe they would spend the necessary funds for the fingerprinting technology and not hang onto all of the data they will collect. Everyone knows information is golden especially government agencies.

Somewhat irritatingly a lieutenant with the Green Bay Wisconsin police department, which has been snagging traffic violators’ fingerprints for the last two years, says anyone concerned about giving up their fingerprints during a traffic stop “were likely the ones who were doing something wrong.” Nice attitude there Mr. Public Servant.

Sponsors... article continues below...

From the,

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.

“The way I see it, if they take your fingerprint, they have access to your history and that’s an invasion of privacy,” said Martha Simms, 27, a mother of two who recently got a speeding ticket in Davidson County.

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.

The bill, if passed, will take effect on July 1. At that time, any police department within the state could require fingerprinting as a means of identification, said Haynes, a Goodlettsville Democrat. “It’s their discretion,” he said.

This entry was posted in Law Enforcement Issues.

One Response to Traffic Law Violators May Soon Be Fingerprinted In Tennessee

  1. Pingback: Tuesday, May 19, 2009: Daily Handpickied Headlines :: Daily Uprising :: Join the Conservative Counter-Revolution!

Leave a Reply