CORDELE, GA (WALB) - The Crisp County Sheriff hopes to use confiscated drug money to help make his community safer.
Sheriff Billy Hancock wants to buy more tag readers for his patrol cars. Some people are uneasy about their information being so readily available, but he says they play a vital role in law enforcement.
Cars drive by a parked patrol car, and their tag information goes right into the officer's computer.
"Every second, as fast as you can realize, that camera goes by a tag; it recognizes that tag, it reads that tag, it checks that tag in the computer," said Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock.
The Crisp County Sheriff's Office has tag readers on 3 patrol cars now. Sheriff Hancock wants to buy 3 more to use on busy roads in the county.
"Imagine the number of vehicles that come up from the Florida panhandle and North on Highway 300 to I-75, a major thoroughfare," said Hancock.
The cameras cost almost $20,000, but last year they helped deputies recover $50,000 in one stop and almost $20,000 in another.
"It's new equipment, it's new technology that helps a law enforcement officer do his job better and keep the community safe," said Hancock.
The readers pick up expired tags immediately, something criminals often don't pay attention to in the midst of their crimes.
"Whether it be drug running, a robbery somewhere, or a homicide, that they don't pay attention to their tags and their tail lights and their tag lights," said Hancock.
And for that reason, Sheriff Hancock hopes to have three more patrolling the streets soon.
Sheriff Hancock said that the tag readers would have been especially useful in trying to locate Wayne Byrd, a suspected serial bank robber accused of robbing Regions Bank in Cordele last week, because the tag number of the car he was driving was loaded into that system.