Not only does the Northeast Heights have the dubious distinction of being the first part of town to have the red-light scam-eras installed, but now the Northeast Area Command is enforcing the Schultz no plate cover edict with something close to a religious fervor.
Recently promoted Captain Bill Henz is making sure that his troops zealously enforce Chief Schultz's commandment by confiscating license plate covers that foil the "infallible" scam-eras.
(Sidebar)The real problem here is that confiscation of property (license plate protectors) could very well be illegal. The New Mexico traffic code does not outlaw license plate covers, regardless of what Chief Schultz maintains. (We explained our position here.) As long as the plates are clearly legible from 100 feet at night, your plate is considered legal according to New Mexico law. Further, there is no city ordinance that we're aware of that outlaws the practice of protecting your license plate (and your behind) with one of these scam-era protection devices.
Captain Henz is a recent promotion to Captain who replaced now Deputy Chief Kevin McCabe as commander up in the Northeast. Our Eyes tell us that Captain Henz was so "loved" by the officers he was chosen to command that during the most recent bid, all of the senior officers in the area command transferred out leaving behind officer who didn't have enough seniority to choose somewhere else.
Don't take this the wrong way... the new officers in the Northeast work hard, but simply don't have the experience to judge whether or not and enforcement edict sent down from on high (the 5th floor) is a legal order or not. They simply follow orders as one would expect them to do.
So, confiscating a license plate cover that leaves your plate clearly legible by law enforcement could easily by considered larceny. We're not hanging this one on the officers of the Northeast Heights - they're just following orders. We're placing the blame upon the people who should know better, namely Captain Henz and Chief Schultz.
Currently, we have no knowledge of a judge making a judgment regarding the plate covers with respect to their legality (The Legislature has most definitely been silent on the issue). And our Eyes tell us that judges will often dismiss charges without prejudice rather than making a precedent setting decision. Therefore, the written law can and is being interpreted by people like Chief Schultz who know that they can get away with it until some other authority (either legislative or judicial) weighs in.
We'd love to see someone whose plate cover was confiscated file larceny charges against Chief Schultz and Captain Henz. After all the Constitution guarantees us the right not to be deprived of life, liberty, or property with out due process of law.