Dear Mahatma: I see a lot of folks with a handicapped placard who jump out of a car and run into a store. Aren't placards issued to a person rather than a vehicle? Maybe you need to say something about that in your column. -- Irritated
Dear Irritated: It's true that handicapped placards are issued to people and not vehicles. We know this from re-reading the website of the Department of Finance and Administration, which says, among a whole lot of other stuff about placards, that applicants must provide a "Licensed Physician's Certification Form 10-336 completed by a licensed physician, certifying permanent disability."
To the best of our knowledge, licensed physicians treat humans not vehicles.
This brings us to your other point, about people who appear, to your eye, to not be handicapped. We may routinely consider a handicapped person to be someone with a cane or walker or wheelchair. But others may have a pulmonary or cardiac problem that allows them a degree of mobility.
Or, yes, there are some people who take advantage. It's part of the human failing.
We've been told numerous times by law enforcement that citizens who suspect handicapped parking abuse should call their local police department, which will send over a patrol unit if one is available.
Dear Mahatma: Our driver's license photos are also used by police to assemble photo lineups. Computer software rummages through the ACIC photo database for pictures that look similar to the suspect to make an array of six. This has the advantage of producing far cleaner photo identification evidence because a neutral source picks the other five photos. The net result is that hardly any photo array testimony is challenged anymore. -- Distinguished Legal Guy
Dear Distinguished: You write in response to a column in which a reader wondered what other government agencies had access to his license photo.
Those agencies include the Arkansas Crime Information Center, about which more shortly. Also the Department of Health for its medical marijuana patient cards. Also the Arkansas State Police for its concealed carry permits.
Brad Cazort, director of the center, was kind enough to chat with us about his agency's use of license photos.
An occurrence more common than a photo array, he said, is when a police officer runs a license plate, which results in access to the photo, but also the driver's, um, driving record and criminal record. The officer may or may not want to look at the photo, Cazort said. The officer also has access to a database called Justice Exchange, which lists people who are incarcerated in county jails.
What often happens, he said, is that the officer will turn up a warrant of some kind for the driver, and serve that warrant.
These databases are available only to law enforcement, he said. Misuse may be either a state or federal crime.
Vanity plate seen on a pickup in Conway: PWR2SP.
Metro on 10/05/2019