EDITORIAL: Bill banning unmarked police vehicles would hurt law enforcement | Opinion


A new bill to be proposed during the 2022 state legislative session to ban municipalities from using unmarked vehicles to conduct roadside checks appears to be an unnecessary intrusion into law enforcement’s ability to do so. their work.

Police chiefs say the use of vehicles that do not have distinctive external plates or stickers or that use discreet markings is essential in stopping child abductions, armed robbery suspects and trafficking drug. They also help reduce crashes, speeding tickets, and deter road rage.

State Senator Cody Rogers, R-Tulsa, said he intended the provisions of Senate Bill 1109 to target city police departments who have designated traffic divisions with unmarked units such as Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Edmond and Norman. He said the goal was for departments not to be able to use unmarked cars on a regular basis, but to be able to use them under special circumstances, such as DUI enforcement or if a police car breaks down.

However, the current wording of the bill covers all municipalities. It states that “it will be illegal for any municipal police department to use a vehicle that is not clearly identified as a law enforcement vehicle for traffic law enforcement.” It also requires that all graphics or markings on law enforcement vehicles be in contrasting colors to a vehicle.

We do not really know what problem this bill seeks to solve. The author claims that the speed has accelerated where unmarked cars are used. He said people tend to be more careful and have better driving habits when marked police cars are present. He is also concerned that unmarked vehicles will be used to generate income rather than for public safety.

Some said voters might fear stopping when an undercover unit tries to stop them for a traffic stop. They are concerned about potential impostors who seek to do harm. But the law already requires that officers driving unmarked cars must always wear an identifiable uniform.

It just seems like a solution to finding a problem that doesn’t really exist – or if it does, it exists in such minute proportions that the long-term harm of it would do greater damage than n any short-term good.

Unless more convincing reasoning is advanced on the rationale for such legislation, he appears to be a good candidate for Case 13.

News & Eagle’s editorial board meets weekly to formulate the newspaper’s positions on primarily local and state and sometimes national issues.

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