Texas police officers came together in a show of support for a bill that aims to eliminate temporary paper license plates, which have been riddled with fraud since 2021, according to Dallas Metro News.
The officers, including Grand Prairie Chief Daniel Scesney, presented their case at a House Transportation Committee hearing in Austin on Wednesday. They urged lawmakers to switch to metal tags, which they argued would be harder for counterfeiters to reproduce and sell online.
The issue of fraudulent tags has been a cause of concern for Scesney, who has spearheaded a mission to eliminate paper tags. NBC 5 Investigates reported that Scesney’s department has confiscated hundreds of fraudulent tags in recent months, many of them replicas of the Department of Motor Vehicles’ new paper tag format that was meant to be harder to copy.
Grand Prairie officers, who worked alongside Brandon Tsai, also showed their support at the hearing. Tsai passed away in November after a crash while pursuing a car with a fraudulent paper tag. Scensney and Rep. Craig Goldman from Fort Worth distributed fraudulent tags to each member of the House Transportation Committee, complete with their names on them, in an effort to illustrate just how easily the new paper tags can be manipulated and reproduced.
Goldman and West, who introduced identical legislation in the Senate, were motivated to act after seeing NBC 5 Investigates’ series of reports, which revealed how crooks were becoming licensed car dealers to gain access to the state’s computer system and produce and sell tags for profit. While the Texas DMV has taken measures to shut down some of these “dealers,” counterfeiters have filled the void, producing replica tags.
The bill is currently pending in committee, but lawmakers hope to put a stop to fraudulent tags by switching to metal tags. The officers who showed up at the hearing expressed optimism that elected officials would make the right decision for Texans.