Elizabethton Police Department reaches agreement with ERAD

Published 8:28 am Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Police departments continue to utilize new and upcoming technology to improve their investigations and procedures, and Elizabethton’s police department is now making some improvements of its own.

As part of Thursday night’s Elizabethton City Council meeting, the council approved a partnership between the Elizabethton Police Department and ERAD, an agreement that, among other things, would allow officers to seize funds from pre-paid credit and debit cards to assist in their investigations.

Police Chief Jason Shaw said the idea of an agreement between them and the organization stemmed from a training session a few months ago.

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“Two of our investigators attended a training session a few months ago and came back with new knowledge and requested this technology to assist in certain investigations,” Shaw said.

ERAD, which stands for Electronic Recovery and Access to Data, is a platform specifically designed for police departments. It gained popularity when the Department of Homeland Security supported it in 2016.

“More and more people use some type of credit or debit card instead of cash,” Shaw said. “Some of the criminal element is using technology to take just about any type of card with a magnetic strip and using them for identity theft, or to hide, transport, and conceal monies derived from their criminal activity.”

According to the presentation Shaw gave to the city council, ERA will “assist the EPD with documenting every confiscated prepaid credit and prepaid debit cards and instantaneously provide key card issuer information that is critical to [their] investigations.”

The agreement even allows EPD officers to transfer money associated with the confiscated card to a designated law enforcement bank account.

He said this new technology would allow city police to uncover those monies and aid their investigations.

He said the technology is also available to the Carter County Sheriff’s Office as well, as part of their shared drug enforcement unit.

“Through agreement between the sheriff’s office and the police department, we can share resources and equipment like this to allow officers and deputies to work together to prosecute criminals,” he said.

The agreement will utilize the police department’s technology fund, along with an annual license fee of $3,000.