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December 15, 2016
The state of Tennessee has joined three other states in a multistate task force created to combat the theft of farming equipment. Other members of the task force are Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.
The task force, initiated by the Office of the Mississippi Secretary of State in April 2016, links law enforcement, scrap metal yards, farmers and other interested parties in an attempt to detect stolen items early, develop leads and successfully prosecute theft.
"The theft of property from the constituents of any of our partner states impacts the entire region," says Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. "By adding Tennessee to this task force, states can more effectively combat agricultural theft and help protect consumers. Tennessee is honored to participate in this multistate effort."
Jai Templeton, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, says, "I appreciate the efforts of the Agricultural Theft Task Force to protect the agricultural and forestry communities' assets. This partnership will allow for a swift response across state lines and create the best opportunity for recovery and justice."
An early alert system administered by the Office of the Mississippi Secretary of State is one of the task force's primary benefits. The alert system is used in conjunction with LeadsOnline to connect law enforcement, farming interests and scrap metal yards.
Law enforcement in Mississippi are provided access to the scrap metal component of LeadsOnline, an online investigation system, at no charge. More than 30,000 businesses nationwide, including scrap metal dealers, report transactions electronically via LeadsOnline.
"Communication and shared resources across state lines is the key to reducing these kinds of crimes, which can have a lasting negative impact on the agricultural businesses we all rely on," says Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. "Adding Tennessee increases our collective ability to act fast when a crime has been committed and deter, prevent and prosecute future incidents."