NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - The city’s police chief says Ohio’s front license plates should stay put even though state legislators have voted to remove the requirement. 

Goodwin has joined law enforcement agencies and ride-sharing businesses in supporting state legislation aimed at keeping Ohio’s front license plates. Ohio legislators voted to remove the requirement, starting in July 2020, when they passed the state budget earlier this year. Goodwin says front license plates should be mandatory.

“We believe in the law enforcement field that is a very valuable tool we use on a daily basis,” he says.

Goodwin says front license plates are important for identifying vehicles and for officer safety.

“An officer will pull up on the front of the vehicle. If there’s no license plate to view, they wouldn’t have that information to radio into dispatch so if something were to happen we at least know what we’re looking for and the vehicle that was involved,” he says.

Those who say front license plates should go include manufacturers, who say it’s becoming increasingly difficult to drill into the front bumper of new vehicles. Goodwin says safety should take priority. He says there also won’t be a difference in cost.

“One of the other things I hear constantly from people: Well, the cost of registration should drop in half. Since we’re only paying for one license plate, the state will cut the price of our plate renewal. Well, that’s not going to happen. The only thing that would happen there is the state of Ohio would actually make more money. They’re not gonna drop the price of the registration but they’re going to save from printing out another plate,” he says.

State Senator Jay Hottinger, who represents Tuscarawas and surrounding counties, introduced the bill to keep the front plates last month.