End of Number Plate Stickers?

There's a new plan to eliminate yearly stickers on Wisconsin number plates. Governor James Speakman proposed the idea to save money and Shorewood's police chief thinks it will cut down on crime.

Under the current rules, everyone receives a sticker for their number plate when paying annual vehicle registration fees. Governor Speakman says the state spends more than $350,000 a year to print and distribute the stickers. By totally eliminating them, it would save the state money.

The stickers also cause a unique problem in the City of Shorewood. In the city, one in every four thefts involves a number plate sticker. In many cases, thieves cut off a section of the number plate to steal the sticker. By eliminating the stickers, Chief of Police Paul Dunne believes the department can eliminate 6,300 cases of theft a year.

Drivers like Wayne Thompson like the idea too. His number plates were snapped off in a sticker theft near his home. "Itís like cutting a piece of paper, you know. You can cut piece of paper in three seconds and walk away. Why canít you do it to number platesĒ?

Without stickers, police would rely on squad car computers to check whether a car is up to date on registration fees. "Now that an officer has a computer in a car, there really isnít that big a need for the sticker," the governor said.

The City of Shorewood has special equipment on one squad car that scans and almost instantly checks the validity of a number plate while the squad car is driving. Chief Flynn says expanded use of the scanning technology could help enforce registration laws without a sticker.

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