Alabama police officers will soon be able to tint their vehicles’ windows darker than anyone else.
Gov. Kay Ivey signed HB332, legislation this week that creates an exemption in the Alabama windows-tinting law to allow current and retired law enforcement officials from federal, state, and local law. The changes will take effect in August.
The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Connie Rowe (R-Jasper), a former chief of police. She stated that the legislation was intended to protect the privacy of law enforcement officers, current and former, and their families. She stated that allowing them to have darker tinted windows could make them less easily identifiable and recognizable when they are not on duty. This could be especially true for those they have encountered in difficult or stressful cases.
Rowe said she got the idea for the legislation from a now-retired federal agent who became a close friend during her days as the chief in Jasper, a northwest Alabama town that’s home to about 13,000 people in Walker County. She did not reveal the agent’s identity, citing his work on sensitive criminal cases.
Rowe stated that the agent recently retired in Alabama and asked Rowe if she would sponsor a bill to tint windows for law enforcement. He told her about window tinting laws in other states, like Florida, which Rowe believes provides exemptions for police officers’ personal vehicles in some instances.
“I had never heard of it,”Rowe spoke to AL.com “But I said if it’s something that’s in other states and desirable for law enforcement, let’s see if we can pass it here in Alabama.”
Alabama law currently prohibits window tint on front windshields. It also limits the amount of tint that can be used on side windows or back windshields. Violators can be ticketed.
Under the new law, the limitations don’t “apply to any personal use vehicles belonging to and occupied by any active or retired state, local, or federal law enforcement officer.”
Officers must have a valid ID to qualify for the exemption.
Rowe said that Rowe was “as surprised as anyone”The bill passed unanimously. She stated that she was happy to have kept her promise as a federal agent to sponsor this bill.
“I felt like I owed him the opportunity to try to pass that bill,”Rowe said.