General Question

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Do you think cops should be able to randomly run plates without committing a moving violation?

Asked by SquirrelEStuff (9058points) October 1st, 2008

Right now, cops must be selective about running plates. With technology and digital licenses(Real ID Act), they will soon be able to see the status of drivers as they drive by on a computer screen. Is it an open door to a police state?

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14 Answers

JackAdams's avatar


Sometimes, the routine running of a license plate can result in the apprehending of someone considered to be dangerous. So, I don’t mind at all if they run my plate when they see it, and I hope they will do that for everyone, and often, because you never know when the act of doing that, will result in a “bad person” being taken off the streets.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Do you mean the cops should not be committing a moving violation when they’re running the plates. Yes, they should stop the car if they’re using the computer. I think they can use the radio while keeping a hand on the wheel.

ccatron's avatar

i don’t have a problem with it..i’m not much of a law-breaker (besides speeding), so I have nothing to hide. and i think it would be a good thing if the just happened to find a stolen car or something like that.

Spargett's avatar

Officers don’t need a reason to run your plate. Many friends of mine are officers. A good portion of their day driving around is running plates randomly.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I LOVE that they do it in my neighborhood. They’ve apprehended many drug dealers due to running plates.

robmandu's avatar

Saw a thing on the Discovery channel where a Canuck cop had his car outfitted with multiple cameras and a dedicated computer.

The computer would quickly scan and auto-identify license plates coming in from the cameras at all times. It would compare them against a database in the PC (updated daily).

While driving thru a parking lot, the computer beeped and surprised the cop: it had gotten a hit on a stolen car he’d just passed.

syz's avatar

I can’t see how running plates is in any way a violation of your rights – it doesn’t infringe on your movement or actions unless they find something.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Since your plates are publicly available, I see no reason they shouldn’t be able to run them. It’s not like they had to open your car to get to the plates.

I’m very privacy sensitive (more than I should be) most of the time, but I just can’t bring myself to get upset about cops using publicly available information.

krose1223's avatar

I work as a dispatcher and my officers always run tags. They have to find probable cause if it’s a suspected or known drug vehicle, and sometimes the registration expiration is all they can find. If someone has drugs in their car they are usually smart enough to stay between the lines and drive 5 under. It doesn’t hurt anything by running your plate if you’re not doing anything wrong. Plus if they see vehicles at a known drug house they are going to want to have the tag printed out so they can keep an eye out and eventually make a bust. There is nothing personal when you run a tag. No information that you didn’t give your dealer. It’s really not that big of a deal.

krose1223's avatar

also, in bigger cities you can have a certain tag put on your car where they are required to run your tag after a certain time. (I think it’s like 3a.m) This is in Texas though, I don’t know if they do it in other states. Then they HAVE to pull your car over… I can’t remember the exact details or what it’s called, I just remember watching a video on it.

JackAdams's avatar

I’m guessing that it might have to do with parents wishing be notified if their kids are out driving at a certain time. I don’t know if that’s true.

krose1223's avatar

I actually think it was more of like upper class citizens who really don’t get out after dark… If their car is out at 3 a.m. it’s assumed to be stolen. I’ll ask more about it next time I go to work and get back to you guys. I wasn’t really interested in it at the time because I pretty much hate my job.

krose1223's avatar

“A car is stolen in Texas every five and a half minutes. More vehicles are stolen between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. than any other time. In 2003, more than 98,000 vehicles were stolen in Texas.In 2005, more than 93,471 vehicles were stolen in Texas. ”

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