Operation Tag snares 85 in Edgewater Village

May 22, 1994|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Sun Staff Writer

Operation Tag, a joint venture of the Maryland State Police and the enforcement division of the state Motor Vehicle Administration, targeted the Edgewater Village area of Edgewood Friday and caught 85 suspected violators between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.

"You never know what you are going to turn up in this kind of detail," said Sgt. Bill Kerner of the Bel Air barracks as five troopers and five MVA agents were leaving a briefing session at the Community Policing Center in the Edgewater Shopping Center to establish roadblocks at three locations.

The roadblocks were set up on Gateway Drive, Tree Top Drive and Swallow Crest Drive, the only roadways in Edgewater Village.

Troopers and agents had MVA documents listing 106 license tag numbers of vehicles. The vehicle owners had been warned at least once since the end of March to comply with state laws requiring that they properly register the vehicles in Maryland.

"Warnings are placed inside a sandwich bag and taped to the windshield of the vehicle," said Willard Combs, an MVA agent. "After an owner has been warned, he must respond in writing within 10 days to explain why he has not complied with Maryland laws."

Of those warned in late March, only 10 responded in writing to the MVA, said Mr. Combs.

"Some in this area are military personnel temporarily stationed here, and others may be only visiting," he said.

Sergeant Kerner said MVA officials had double-checked their lists on Thursday, deleting all owners who had complied with state laws or had satisfactorily explained why they had not.

"Vehicle owners moving into the state have 30 days to register their vehicles with the MVA," said Sgt. Don Hoskins, assistant chief of the MVA enforcement division.

Vehicles with out-of-state tags frequently are owned by people who have moved to Maryland but have not obtained a valid driver's license or registered their vehicles here, he said.

Friday's operation resulted in troopers and agents writing 17 citations, eight vehicle equipment repair orders and 39 warnings for drivers with out-of-state tags who had not previously been warned, said Sergeant Kerner.

Additionally, 21 sets of license tags were confiscated by MVA agents who swept through Edgewater Village and spotted cars whose owners had been warned to comply with state law.

In all, 14 drivers were issued $260 citations, and three got $40 tickets.

Four of the vehicles stopped had to be towed because their license tags were confiscated.

One driver was cited for not having a child properly restrained in a safety seat, and many drivers were given oral warnings for not wearing seat belts.

A motorcyclist stopped on Gateway Drive was cited for riding on a Pennsylvania learner's permit. Maryland law requires that those operating a motorcycle with a learner's permit be accompanied by a licensed operator on another motorcycle.

On Tree Top Drive, a man was cited because his Nissan Sentra had no license tags. He was headed for work at a nearby car dealership and said he had forgotten to attach dealer plates to the car before leaving work Thursday night.

The majority of the stops delayed motorists about 15 minutes.

One driver of a 1978 Ford was stopped with a Tennessee license tag on the rear bumper.

The man who had a Maryland driver's license told troopers that his girlfriend had recently bought the car in Tennessee. His explanation checked out, and a warning to register the car with the MVA was written.

Operation Tag has been used in several jurisdictions, said Michael Mulqueen, an MVA agent.

"Even if we do not catch everyone on a list, it serves as an effective deterrent," said Sergeant Kerner. "People see our operation and go register their vehicles rather than risk our stopping them."

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