Undercover Window Tinting

Even though illegal for anyone else to do so, law enforcement agencies can tint or glaze a vehicle’s front side or rear windows under a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. 

The measure, sponsored by the Peace Officers Research Association of California, is supposedly aimed at ending the embarrassing situation of a peace officer puling over someone for illegal window tinting and discovering that person is an undercover officer.

Says the author of AB 2660 , Assemblyman Jose Solorio, a Santa Ana Democrat:

“The arresting police officer may be required to give the other officer a ticket because the law does not exempt police officers from the tinting prohibition. The police department then has to spend time and money going to the prosecutor or the court to get the traffic ticket dismissed or the agency has to pay the fine.

“This process wastes critical and limited public safety resources on a technicality leading to a traffic ticket that could be avoided with a change in the law, which this bill makes.

No examples were received by the Senate Transportation Committee of “instances in which one law enforcement agency cited another’s officers for violations due to tinting or covering the front side windows of their vehicles,” the analysis of Solorio’s measure says.

“It may be that there have been some very isolated instances of this occurring but, if so, proponents could provide none.”

California law says it’s illegal to drive a vehicle with “any object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed or applied upon the windshield or the side windows adjacent to the driver.” Same goes for ther ear window in vehicles that have no side mirrors.

There are exceptions for FasTrak transponders, rearview mirrors, sunvisors not mounted on the windshield’s glass and parking decals on windshield’s lower corner.

Perhaps of more concern than the new law being a solution in search of problem is this additional point raised in the Transportation Committee analysis:

“Making window tinting of front side windows legal only for law enforcement vehicles would distinguish those vehicles so that people would know they are undercover law enforcement vehicles.

“This seems contrary to the intent of the proponents.”


1 Comment »

  1. Greg, this legislation makes no sense and your article is a bit confusing too. How will this new law keep an undercover officer from being pulled over for tinted windows? There are thousands of normal citizens who have illegally tinted windows. Does this mean that people will think all these people with tinted windows are cops?

    I have not read the new law but perhaps there was some legislative intent to exempt MARKED police cars. Tinted windows would help keep K9’s cool ( many K9 cars already have the back windows tinted). It may also be for protecting the officer from skin cancer on their face. It is a somewhat common work related injury. That is one reason the CHP switched from the old police hats to the smoky the bear hats…..for more protection from the sun. It would also keep the interior of the car cooler for the officer. Imagine wearing a bullet proof vest in Bakersfield in the summer.

    Perhaps Assemblyman Solario should read the Penal Code. It is illegal to require a officer to write a citation to anyone. Heard of ticket quotas? The operative word here is discretion. I was a California cop for 30 years and cannot recall ever stopping an on duty undercover officer for any kind of violation.

    Comment by Scott Cagle — 8.13.2012 @ 9:13 pm

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