The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Breaking News

National News

November 8, 2013

Iowa DOT finds undercover plates missing, misused

IOWA CITY— Government agencies have lost or misused more than 200 Iowa license plates that were issued for undercover work, and hundreds more should never have been distributed in the first place, according to a report released Thursday.

A four-month review by the Iowa Department of Transportation found that 167 such plates are missing, 46 weren’t necessary for the work that was being performed and 18 were being used for purposes that were not authorized by state law. More than 500 others were issued to federal and out-of-state agencies, even though they do not qualify under the law, the review found.

The purpose of issuing the ordinary-looking plates is to allow police and government officials to conduct work that could be disrupted if their identities were known. But those plates also allow the vehicles to avoid tickets from some speed and red light cameras operated by cities because they are marked as not on file. All other government plates in Iowa are required to be marked “official.”

Gov. Terry Branstad ordered the review in July after The Associated Press reported that 3,200 plates had been issued to local, state and federal agencies. The AP reported last month that the DOT will cancel all those plates and reissue only those that are justified after establishing a formal application process, which is detailed in Thursday’s report.

The report recommends changes that would allow municipalities that operate traffic cameras to be able to search a police database to find out which agency owns the undercover plates and issue tickets when appropriate. DOT officials found no justification for the current practice of keeping that information out of the database.

The review found the plates made up a tiny fraction of the 4.2 million issued in Iowa and that the majority of them “are actively assigned to a vehicle ostensibly being used for a purpose” permitted under state law. Those include police officers conducting investigations and enforcing drug laws, Iowa Lottery employees carrying tickets and health care workers who conduct off-site visits.

Text Only
National News
  • Medicare hospital fund to last 4 years longer

    Medicare's finances are looking brighter, the government said Monday. The program's giant hospital trust fund won't be exhausted until 2030 — four years later than last year's estimate.

    July 28, 2014

  • After 6 weeks, finally a deal on VA health care

    After more than six weeks of sometimes testy talks, House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a compromise plan to fix a veterans health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays.

    July 28, 2014

  • Brother sues W.Va. senator over business loan

    U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III faces a $1.7 million civil suit filed by a brother over a lifeline to save a family carpet business.

    July 25, 2014

  • Official: Hospital gunman intended to kill others

    A psychiatric patient ranted about a hospital gun ban before opening fire at the suburban medical complex, killing his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist before the doctor pulled out his own weapon and fired back, authorities said Friday.

    July 25, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

     

    July 25, 2014

  • Illinois woman, 47, dies rescuing boy in Wisc. lake ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — Friends and family are mourning the death of an Illinois woman who drowned while rescuing a 9-year-old boy in a Wisconsin lake.The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports 47-year-old Karen Wessel of Arlington Heights d

    July 25, 2014

  • Taiwan plane crash photo Air travel a leap of faith for passengers WASHINGTON (AP) — Airline travel requires passengers to make a leap of faith, entrusting their lives to pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers and others who regulate air travel.Even after a week of multiple tragedies in worldwide aviation, “There

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

     

    July 24, 2014

  • U.S. economy, though sluggish, may now be sturdier WASHINGTON (AP) — Out of a seemingly hollow recovery from the Great Recession, a more durable if still slow-growing U.S. economy has emerged.That conclusion, one held by a growing number of economists, might surprise many people. After all, in the fi

    July 24, 2014

AP Video
Facebook