... or at least really does not understand this Internet fad.
I'll get to the weird legal ramifications of the Independence Police Dept. trolling the highway randomly running license plates in a second. But first, my beef sits with the Missouri Department of Revenue and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
This is not some screed about fee offices or lines at the DMV... no, this is about how the DMV runs its online operations.
I'll give big ups to the DMV for putting most of it major time-sucking operations online. Need new license plates? Get'em online. Need to register your car with the state? Do it online!
Huzzah! The state is moving slowly into the 21st Century. Only this time they are royally screwing over online users — and obviously not telling local law enforcement how to deal with the change in license plate rules.
You see, this year the state is making everyone in Missouri get new license plates — got to keep those prisoners busy with something.
In the past I have registered my car online with no problems. I file the paperwork on the web, fill in the blanks online and in a week, the new stickers arrived in the mail and I put them on the truck.
I figured this year would be the same deal... No sir.
This year I went through the exact same process online. After all the online shenanigans, a little box popped up telling me my new stickers AND plates would be coming in about a week.
And now the hitch: As soon as I pressed enter and the e-check cleared, the DMV deleted my current license plates from the state's computer system.
This fine piece of the DMV puzzle was not told to me until the Independence Police Department decided to randomly run my plates through their computer as I was driving down Highway-291.
The state database thinks I got my new plates already — despite the fact that they are currently en rout from some state penitentiary's metal yard.
The plates I currently have on my car are considered Illegal (at least according to the cop who was looking for something a bigger bust than some nerdy white kid driving around at 1 a.m.).
Independence's finest went through the whole 10-point check list on how I could be arrested and my car impounded for not only having illegal plates but also not displaying the correct plates, which are currently somewhere in the mail system.
If the state is wiping out old plates immediately from their databases and then making drivers wait a week or more before the new plates actually arrive, we are going to have a lot of pissed off drivers and annoyed cops.
I had always heard rumors that the Independence Police would troll through bar and night club parking lots running all of the license plates through their in-car computers looking for outstanding warrants attached to vehicles.
In fact, a City Councilman joked that when the Dallas Nightclub was still operating on Noland Road, police regularly trolled the parking lot running plates and then arresting people as they came out to their car.
I had a hard time believing it. It seemed counter productive and seems like it would not yield a whole lot of results.
After last night I am all but convinced. I was not speeding. I had no broken tail lights or missing gas caps. I was not swerving. The cop merged in behind me as I pulled from I-70 to M-291. He then sped up to stay right behind me.
I saw him the whole time. he drove behind me for about two miles until he hit his lights. As soon as he hit my window he started the mind games about whose plates I had on my car.
Even he was baffled as to why they did not come up AT ALL in his computer and that, he said, is why I got pulled over.
So, can a cop pull people over after just running their plates despite no suspicious activity or illegal traffic maneuver being committed?
It seems odd to have cops riding around randomly popping license plates into the computer hoping for a big score.