Safety concerns are rising around a police reform bill blocking officers from pulling over drivers without headlights at night, part of an initiative to reform police searches when detecting marijuana in vehicles.
Senate Bill 5029, initially introduced by Senator L. Louise Lucas (D), reads that “no law-enforcement officer may lawfully stop a motor vehicle for operating without a light illuminating a license plate, with defective and unsafe equipment, without brake lights or a high mount stop light,” as well as other vehicle defects. The bill was passed by the House and Senate and is now waiting on Governor Ralph Northam to sign into action.
However, the Herndon Police Chief Maggie DeBoard has expressed concern over the passing of the bill because it undermines several different safety measures.
On Oct. 14, DeBoard crafted a letter and uploaded it to Facebook via the Herndon Police Department, addressing Northam on behalf of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police on the areas of the bill they oppose and would like to see changed.
“Our citizens expect us to protect them. This bill prevents that and will certainly lead to an increase in vehicle and pedestrian fatalities throughout the state,” said DeBoard in her letter. “We strongly encourage you to amend SB 5029 and HB 5058 to remove the amendments that negatively impact the safety of our citizens and visitors.”
According to the police department, Northam has until today to take action on the bill.
Photo via Herndon Police Department