Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just the car facts, Ma'am. Just the facts.

Few realize that two separate police agencies are nestled under the roof of the Utah State Tax Commission: the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division and the Criminal Investigation Unit.

These police officers are P.O.S.T. certified, carry badges and pack weapons.

Today, we'll take a quick look at the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division. MVED officers protect citizens from motor vehicle commerce fraud by regulating the car sales industry.

As far as I know the used and new car sales business is the only Utah industry that has its very own police force. And who says you can't trust a car salesman?

In the news media MVED officers have been misidentified as DMV police, state investigators and my personal favorite . . . "state motor fleet officers."

These officers chase down stolen vehicles and the myriad of associated crimes. They are settled in for Easter weekend at the Little Sahara Sand Dunes in Juab County. They focus on citing those with unregistered ATVs and trailers--and there is a good chance they cross a handful of stolen vehicles.

MVED issues licenses to sales people and dealerships. In Utah, there are 4,805 licensed car sales people and 2,675 registered dealerships.

Police throughout the state recognize MVED officers as experts in auto theft and other vehicle-related crimes, i.e., odometer fraud, chop shops, title fraud and vehicle theft rings.

Last year, they recovered nearly 600 stolen vehicles valued at $5.2 million. They also filed 595 criminal counts, impounded 375 vehicles, issued 2,926 registrations and other citations and received 3,268 formal complaints.

Like Dragnet's Joe Friday, for the most part our MVED officers are looking for "Just the facts, ma'am. Just the facts."

Peace, love and all that Jazz, Charlie