Upcoming crackdown reveals understaffing issues, high number of expired license plates, and controversy


Pueblo, Colo. — Officers across the state are getting ready to crack down on expired license plates but some people say they’ve faced several obstacles in getting their plates renewed.

In Pueblo County, some people say they’re struggling to get an appointment while others have simply chosen not to.

Meanwhile, the department in charge of helping drivers needs help itself.

Late Monday afternoon, Pueblo County said its motor vehicle department is critically understaffed. It comes after a four month complete closure due to COVID and a move to appointment-only options.

But law enforcement officials and the Colorado State Patrol say time’s up.

“If you do not have current plates, you will receive a citation,” Pueblo Police Sergeant Frank Ortega said. “The high number of people without plates, high number of people with expired plates, and there’s some people, to be honest with you, that are taking advantage of the system.”

Previously, if you were pulled over and said you had an appointment scheduled, you could possibly avoid getting a ticket. The crackdown changes that.

“People will ask, ‘why, if I have an appointment, why would you give me a ticket?’ because unfortunately there’s a high number of people that do not show up for their appointments,” Ortega explained.

The crackdown is creating a scene on social media. Some people say the it’s about time that police crack down on expired license plates while others say they’ve tried to schedule an appointment, but haven’t had any success.

In Pueblo, that should change soon with the addition of new employees and windows for walk-in traffic. But out on the roads, authorities say the time for leniency has passed.

“Maybe the judge will give you a break but we’re issuing citations,” Ortega said.

There are several ways to renew your plates. Online services and kiosks are available and most courthouses around the area are offering in-person services with no appointments needed.

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