Police won’t enforce tint law for now

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

At least one local law enforcement agency says it will notenforce a controversial new vehicle window tint law until technicalcomplications within the law are resolved.

“I have no intentions of enforcing this law until we get thisservice locally,” said Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson. “Youhave to give people a chance to get in compliance; otherwise, it’snot fair.”

The law, which takes effect July 1, invalidates all prior windowtint inspections and requires vehicles with after-market tint to beinspected and certified annually to meet the state limit of 35percent light transmission. Tint applied at the factory, whichmeets the federal limit of 20 percent light transmission, is exemptunder the law.

Complicating the situation, no business in Mississippi HighwayPatrol District 9, which includes Adams, Franklin, Lawrence,Lincoln and Pike counties in the local area, plan to offer therequired new window tint inspection stickers, according to Lt. EdNelson, a MHP spokesman.

The nearest business offering the stickers appears to beBozeman’s Chevron in Hazlehurst, according to Nelson, theBrookhaven Police Department and a survey conducted by The DAILYLEADER. A business in Columbia is also reportedly offering theservice.

District 39 Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith said today that theLegislature began to unofficially address the problems with the lawTuesday and intend to continue those discussions today. TheLegislature, which entered a special session Tuesday, cannot act torevise the law during the special session unless it is placed onthe agenda by the governor.

However, Hyde-Smith said Senate and House attorneys are lookingat the language of the bill. She said she believed when the billwas passed that it would require drivers to get new window tintinspection stickers when they went to renew their standard vehicleinspection stickers.

“Obviously there is some confusion about the bill, and we’retrying to clarify that,” she said. “Apparently there are two waysto interpret the bill.”

In the meantime, Henderson said he cannot enforce a law that isnot clearly understood by all effected parties. Additionally, hesaid he cannot enforce a bill that his department would likely bein violation of.

Brookhaven Police Department patrol cars are currently tinted at35 percent, except for one, but Henderson expressed some concernthat the department’s vehicles, like many in the public, might havea light transmission reading less than that.

Most glass has a slight tinting automatically added at thefactory, he said. Therefore, it is likely, he said, that when 35percent after-market tinting is applied the windows will fail tomeet the requirements of the new inspection stickers.

“If this means our window tint will need to be changed afterbeing inspected, it will be changed,” he said.

The one exception in the department to the 35 percent tint isthe K-9 unit, he said. Under the law at the time, K-9 units wereallowed to be tinted darker to safeguard police dogs, which spendmuch of a shift in the vehicle.

“It was checked on when we allowed the officer to do that,”Henderson said. “We’ll have to check that now, and if it’s nolonger in compliance it will be changed.”