City councilor urges lawmakers to pass bill requiring front license plates

New Mexico News

An Albuquerque City Councilor says he’s sick of the crime problem and he thinks he’s found the solution: requiring drivers to have a front license plate.

Now, he’s urging lawmakers in Santa Fe to change the law in order to help police tackle crime across the state.

“Lately we’ve gotten quite a crime problem, and we’re trying to find any way possible to handle that,” says Councilor Brad Winter.

Winter says House Bill 231 gave him an idea on how to bring down the crime in a cost-effective way.

“When I read the bill I thought, ‘Wow, this is an easy way to identify suspects of crime,” he says.

Rep. Patricio Ruiloba (D) and Rep. Bill Rehm (R), both retired officers, want all New Mexico vehicles to have a front and back license plate. If it passes, drivers would get an additional plate, registration sticker, and pay an extra $2.

Ruiloba first introduced the measure last year.

“The idea of having another plate on the vehicle is just a resource for not only the community, but also for law enforcement to have identifying markers in the front and the back of the vehicles to try and identify who’s involved,” said Ruiloba back in 2018.

Now, Councilor Winter is introducing his own bill to urge lawmakers to pass HB231.

“It’s not very expensive to have it done and it’s another tool for police. I think it’s really going to make a difference,”  he says.

Albuquerque Police say only having a rear plate has been a disadvantage to officers.

“Over the years, crooks have been known, literally they know they’re being watched on camera. They will actually try to avoid the camera system and drive backwards so you can’t see their license plate,” says Officer Simon Drobik.

That’s why the Albuquerque Police Department supports the legislation, and hopes it will pass this time around.

“Having a license plate in the front during those types of investigations would not only aid investigations of homicides, all the way down to traffic citations,” says Officer Drobik.

Currently, 31 out of 50 states require a front and rear license plate.

Ruiloba tried to pass the bill last year but it failed.

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