ASK A COP — Why do officers allow some violations to occur in plain view?

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, April 26, 2023

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Tony asks: Why do some police officers allow traffic violations to occur right in front of them and not respond? Officer Antoine, I know you won’t allow that to happen, so why do others?

Answer: almost impossible for me to defend another officer’s action or in your opinion, the lack thereof, if I wasn’t present. There may be MANY reasons why officers don’t respond to violations. First, there is a good possibility he/she didn’t see it. Just because you saw the violation, it doesn’t necessarily mean the officer observed it. There is almost constant communication on the police radio, and the in-car computer that has an officer almost ALWAYS busy. Some officers just don’t have time to stop and address a traffic violation if they are already headed to an assault or fight in progress. That’s why the need of a traffic enforcement unit is needed in every community to address such violations that seem to go overlooked. Even being a former member of a traffic enforcement unit, I couldn’t address ALL the violations that occur in my presence. If so, I would NEVER go anywhere. I would remain in the same spot. Consider this, traffic offenses are occurring somewhere ALL the time in ALL cities. Many officers may just choose to address the offenses that are the most harmful, in their opinion, to the motoring community.

Johnson asks: Is it illegal for a license plate to be covered by a plastic cover? Does the entire license plate need to be visible in order to be legal?

Answer: Several years ago, the state of Texas had to clear up the language in the Transportation Code. Law enforcement officers interpreted it as covering any part of the lettering on the license plate was illegal. We were with the understanding that the entire license plate had to be visible. All of the frames that covered any part of the license plate made the driver illegally operating a motor vehicle with obscured license plates. Today the only lettering that must be clear and legible are the state “TEXAS” and the license plate number/lettering. Any additional lettering can be obscured. “Yes,” you are allowed to have “clear” license plate covers. All others, such as smoked or tinted license plate covers, are not allowed to cover license plates and vehicles operated on Texas roadways.

Stan asks: I have a friend who was involved in a wreck on private property. My friend was inside a business and returned only to discover the vehicle was damaged. She waited for the driver of the vehicle next to her car to return. Once the driver returned, my friend approached the driver and notified them of the damage caused to her vehicle by their vehicle. My friend said the driver denied all responsibility and entered his vehicle and drove away. Now my friend has a damaged vehicle that she’s going to have to repair out of her pocket or go through her insurance company. Wwhat could be done when this sort of thing occurs?

Answer: Nowadays just about everyone has a cellphone that has a camera. So the first thing your friend should have done was collect photographic evidence of her vehicle, the suspect vehicle, the damage to both vehicles and, most importantly, a photo of the suspected vehicle’s license plate. All of this should have been completed before the driver returned to their vehicle. Police officers in Texas DO NOT work private property accidents/crashes. We can respond to the scene, but you will NOT receive a wreck/crash report unless someone is injured as a result of the crash. Police officers can/will assist assuring pertinent information be exchanged between both drivers in the event of a private property crash. But if the driver leaves the scene before the police officers arrives, you will have a picture of their car and license plate to give to officers. It is a crime in the great state of Texas to leave the scene of a crash/accident and fail to give your information. Texas Transportation Code 550.024 states: When operator of a vehicle collide and damage an unattended vehicle shall immediately stop, locate the owner of unattended vehicle or leave in a conspicuous place a written notice giving the name, address of operator and/or owner along with a brief explanation of event.

Join Me, Officer Antoine and the CREW Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” I Washington & Tejas “Lil Man”Morning Star for Ask A Cop live on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. and beyond. Call in questions at 409-982-0247. You can also email questions to or leave a voicemail at 409-983-8673. Mail them to Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always “Ask A Cop!”