A new rule of thumb for thumb printing

Mid-South law enforcers want a new rule of thumb for pawn shops around the state. Three years ago Shelby and Knox Counties began a pilot program to thumb print at pawn shops, but if all 95 counties aren't doing it, that creates a loophole for those two counties.

" I'm all for it. I think it should be done all over the state," said Pawn Shop Owner David Krasner of American Loan Company. Krasner continues, "It's actually for your protection and it also it helps deter anybody that has done anything bad."

After the three-year pilot program, Shelby County and Memphis law enforcers are revisiting the push to make pawn shop thumb printing the law around the state. Sheriff Mark Luttrell says having the law in only Shelby and Knox Counties gives thieves an opportunity to dump their spoils in other counties.

Luttrell replies, "When it's just in Shelby and Knox County then someone that say burglarizes a home in Shelby County can go to Tipton County and Fayette county and sell it to a pawn shop without this requirement."

"We're talking about our citizens getting their property back, us finding a suspect all because of that thumbprint," explained Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin. The police director says thumb printing has solved a third of the burglaries in Memphis. "Over 3,500 hundred items have been recovered in the last three years in Knox and Shelby County. 1.7 million in property has been recovered," Godwin said.

A house and senate committee will soon review the proposal. They'll have hearings, then it goes to the full floor for consideration. The thumb print legislation is part of a larger public safety coalition agenda. The Shelby County sheriff and district attorney and the Memphis police director are also working to increase penalties for assault on an officer. They also want to strengthen gun legislation by increasing sentences for criminals with guns.