Report Seeks to Rein in Secret Government Plates

Linn County license plate, photographed Fri. Dec. 2, 2005.


By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A report says Iowa's practice of withholding information about undercover government vehicles from police databases isn't necessary and should be ended so they can receive tickets from traffic cameras as easily as ordinary drivers.

The Iowa Department of Transportation report Thursday says several other changes will be made to ensure that only authorized vehicles are granted undercover license plates.

The plates help police and government officials conduct sensitive work without their identities being exposed. For years, they have also allowed the vehicles to avoid tickets from municipal traffic cameras because their ownership information is kept out of databases that are searched by local agencies.

DOT official Mark Lowe said shielding the information isn't necessary for safety purposes, and database changes will be made so agencies can look up ownership information.

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