WAUKEE, Iowa -- The Waukee Police Department caused uproar Thursday after it gave the public a heads-up that officers would be on the lookout for vehicles with tinted windows.
“This is money that we actually get from the government to do traffic enforcement, so when people are upset because we’re not stopping drunk drivers or we’re not more serious offenses, we’re still doing that too, but we’re putting extra bodies on the street that are paid through that supplement,” said Waukee Police Sgt. Mackenzie Sposeto.
Many viewers took to Channel 13’s Facebook page to complain about the traffic enforcement project, asking why police don't have more important matters to deal with.
Sposeto says having tinted windows is a serious matter.
“It is an officer safety issue. For me, walking up to a car, I absolutely want to be able to see what I’m dealing with. It’s not for us to be mean or to be picking on anyone,” she said.
And finding out who's violating the law isn't a matter of guesswork. Police use technology tools to determine which windows are too tinted.
“It has to be 70 percent or more light through the window,” Sposeto said.
Anything less for the windows in the front is illegal.
“So that is showing the total light transmitted is 15 percent, so obviously that means just 15 percent of light is getting through the window,” Sposeto said.
She said the law prohibiting tinted windows is there to protect those who work in public safety.
“To be able to see who is in the vehicle and the situation that might be going on in the vehicle, you know is there movement in the vehicle or how many people are in the car? It’s a logical thought process for us as police officers,” Sposeto said.
A fine for having tinted windows will cost about $130. Waukee police issued two warnings and three tickets during the special enforcement. The money that the police department gets to do this kind of enforcement comes from a grant they get from the Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau, a subdivision of the Department of Public Safety.