MILWAUKEE, Wis. The elimination of front vehicle plates and license plate stickers proposed as part of Wisconsin's next budget doesn't sit well with many police, including some who opposed the measures during a roundtable discussion in Milwaukee County on Monday.
The forum, organized by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, included about 40 people representing law enforcement, state and county elected offices and other community leaders gathered at the West Allis municipal courtroom.
Van Hollen, who has held the sessions in other counties, said Monday that concern over the license plate stickers and front plates was echoed by many.
Shorewood Police Chief David M. Banaszynski, head of the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, said many small agencies don't have in-car computers to allow checks for a legitimate car registration. In those cases, a sticker is needed, he said.
Others said eliminating the sticker could raise complaints of racial profiling.
Banaszynski said most officers could adapt to the change of not having a front plate on vehicles but it's not something that most want. Milwaukee Police Inspector Darryl Winston said that the Milwaukee department could go either way on the plate issue but favors eliminating stickers and coming up with another way to determine if a vehicle is registered. More than 4,900 thefts of stickers and plates were reported to the city's police in 2008.
There was discussion with legislators about the possibility of an inside window decal.
Gov. Jim Doyle wants to eliminate the vehicle registration stickers and cut the use of plates from two to one as part of money-saving measures in the recommended 2009-'11 state budget.
Forum participants also discussed early-release provisions for state prisoners, cuts in state shared revenue to municipalities and desired changes to penalties under the state's drunken driving laws, such as making second- and third-time offenders probation eligible.