‘It’s really to educate’ News 4 rides along with Ferguson police as they enforce expired temp tags

Ferguson Police continues to crack down on expired temporary license plate tags, with officers prioritizing that enforcement during Tuesday shifts.
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 10:18 PM CDT
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FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOV) - Ferguson Police continues to crack down on expired temporary license plate tags, with officers prioritizing that enforcement during Tuesday shifts.

Some officers are even working overtime to check drivers’ temp tags.

News 4 had the opportunity to ride along with an officer on Tuesday and saw three drivers get pulled over in less than an hour.

That officer was Brittany Richardson, who was working her normal beat around Ferguson.

“Just make sure you get your plates taken care of, okay? Like I said, I’m just issuing you a warning, it’s not a citation,” said Richardson to one driver.

Richardson gave most people a break Tuesday. Just warnings, unless the driver had a larger offense, like one man.

“I am writing him a warning for the temp tag, but his license is suspended, so he will be getting a citation for that,” said Richardson.

She also cited one person whose temp tags were expired by over a year. Their tags expired in 2021.

“He really didn’t have anything to say. He was just like, okay, it’s expired, I know,” said Richardson.

She said cooperation and respect go a long way in simply getting a warning and not a fine.

“Cause if you’re respectable to me, I’ll be respectful to you. Most of the time, I just want them to know why I stopped you,” said Richardson.

Richardson has been with Ferguson Police for five years and first wanted to get into policing after seeing her uncle do it.

Plus, she wanted more people that look like her, to be cops.

After every stop - she’s required to fill out a racial profiling report.

“To make sure we’re not racially profiling people, it asks you questions like what you were doing when you pulled over the violation and things of that nature,” said Richardson.

Ferguson Police also brought on a new police chief this spring, Troy Doyle.

Richardson says he’s brought more transparency to the office and has improved morale.

“I see some positive changes, he’s done a lot of things behind the scenes that may not seem big to us, but it’s big inside the station,” said Richardson.

While enforcing Chief Doyle’s temp tag initiative, Richardson treats it as a learning experience for drivers.

She was telling drivers why they were stopped and to be more mindful next time around. She also said the extra enforcement is not about putting money into the city’s coffers.

“It’s not necessarily to issue citations. It’s really to educate you on why I stopped you and to say we see it, we’re enforcing it the way we’re going to enforce it, it doesn’t always have to generate revenue,” said Richardson.

And while the stops Tuesday were routine, she says she is always on guard for the unpredictable.

“Because you don’t know, it can be a 16-year-old new driver, or it could be an 80-year-old grandma, and you never know what type of day people are having, and you don’t know what people’s intentions are,” said Richardson.

Changes are likely coming soon for temp tags. The legislature passed a bill that requires temp tags to be paid to the car dealer.

Governor Mike Parson has yet to sign or veto the bill.