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FireFighter License Plate – Free Pass?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

FireFighter License Plate – Free Pass?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
February 19, 2008


Illinois Firefighter License Plate


Should vehicles with Illinois FireFighter Memorial (F/F) license plates get a free pass on parking violations? Do their drivers expect free passes?

Frequently I wonder whether police officers routinely ticket such vehicles when parking violations are observed, just as the same as they would with any other vehicle.

About 4:50PM a white Chevrolet Blazer-type vehicle was parked on Sheila Street in front of 1948 Sheila, on the south side of the street where No Parking This Side of Street signs are posted every few driveways. There can be no doubt in any driver’s mind that parking on that side of the street is illegal. The license plate: WATR (Firefighter Memorial special plate). Let’s see; could that possibly be a firefighter’s Chevrolet?

I was in the neighborhood to talk to residents about tonight’s City Council meeting and a proposed ordinance to make Sheila Street no-parking in both directions AND a tow-away zone. In fact, the only street in Woodstock from which illegally parked cars would be towed.

Thirty minutes later the vehicle was still there, and about five minutes after that the driver came out of the house and drove away.

Why do firemen and cops ante up the extra bucks for these plates? I’m sure it’s out of the goodness of their hearts that they want to donate funds to the respective memorials, and they don’t ever expect a break from an officer. Or do they? Of course, they do!

One of the breaks is they probably won’t even get stopped in the first place. Another break occurs when they are told to ease up on the pedal, and their license, registration and insurance might not even get checked. Or they get a Warning, not a Citation.

And the poor guy across the street on Sheila? Whammo! Sock it to ‘em! Big-time!



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