SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Are your car tags up to date? On the heels of announcing more police presence at four major intersections near high-crime areas, the Springfield Police Department says it will also be increasing enforcement on expired permanent and temporary car tags.
Just as it doesn’t take long to see someone running a red light at any major intersection, it’s also pretty easy to spot expired temporary-or-permanent plates as you go through a parking lot or drive around town. And by the way you’ll also spot plenty of cars with no license plate displayed on the front which is required in Missouri except for bigger commercial trucks.
But the growing number of expired tags is the subject of the Springfield Police Department’s new emphasis.
“That’s something we’ve had a number of complaints about over the past several months,” said Major Stacey Parton. “During the time of COVID people were given the opportunity to delay registration of motor vehicles because some of the licensing offices were closed so the state graciously gave motorists some time to get caught up. However those times have passed and we’re going to take a more focused approach on enforcement pertaining to registration of vehicles, in particular expired license plates and expired temporary licenses. So in an effort to do that over the next 60 days we plan to put officers on overtime assignment and focus our efforts at certain locations where our data shows we’d had a lot of violations.”
Forgetting to renew car tags is a common occurrence for many of us and some people may not have the money to pay the sales tax and insurance required to get permanent plates when they purchase a car. And then there are others who would rather pay a small fine for having expired temporary tags as opposed to shelling out a much larger amount for insurance and sales taxes.
“I think socioeconomic issues definitely play into this,” Parton said. “People have had a hard time financially and I think that it was part of the grace period the state had. But as we’ve moved past COVID we’re going to start moving forward with enhancing enforcement.”
If you look on social media you’ll already find a host of negative comments with people questioning the police department’s decision to emphasize expired tags over more serious crimes and why they don’t put more of a priority on catching violent offenders and preventing felony offenses .
“We do have a lot of serious crime that we’re addressing,” Parton said. “But sometimes the same people who are committing those crimes are the ones who don’t register their vehicle. A person’s vehicle registration allows us to know who they are and make them more identifiable to law enforcement when we have to deal with them.”
Parton pointed out that finding stolen cars is much more difficult when the plates on that car are not properly registered and gave an example of how cars with proper plates can help solve crimes.
“We had an individual who was traveling across country that had made threats to possibly use explosives and do damage,” Parton recalled. “And that vehicle was located because of license plate recognition. He had a regular permanent plate.”
Parton explained that each individual officer will have the discretion as to whether to issue a warning or write a citation.
“Our focus will be on education but I want to strongly emphasize there will be enforcement,” he said.
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