Marlin questions police tint checks

Island Councilman William Marlin plans to contend the legality of police stopping motorists without proper grounds, for having excessive tint on the windows of their cars.

The long-time council member and Member of Antillean Parliament told "For The Record" radio programme host Eddie Williams on Sunday that the controversial police controls were dampening the effects of extra police on St. Maarten streets.

Marlin, whose wife was stopped recently by police who proceeded to remove the tint from her vehicle’s windows, said he intended to write to Local Chief of Police Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards and Antillean Justice Minister David Dick questioning the legality of police removing tint without analysing its opacity.  

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He said those in charge of the force should know that the law stated that tint is allowed on the front windshield and the two front side windows allowing light to enter with a density of about 70 per cent and a density of 40 per cent for the two back side windows and the back window.

He said that without a light-measuring device, officers could not possibly determine the amount of light entering a vehicle by looking alone. "This has been a controversy from day one," said Marlin on the 99.9 Choice FM radio show. "There is no gadget as far as I know. … There is no way police officers can prove whether the tint is (too dark) or not."

Excessive window tint is among the traffic infractions that police are checking in their expanded controls, much to the frustration of many residents. Police’s roadside controls spurred a parody song "T.I.N.T." a few years ago, mocking police’s focus on window tint.

Police have said that, like off-colour lights, excessive window tint on a vehicle can pose a danger to motorists and that people with criminal intent can "hide behind it."

He said it was good to have additional police officers on the street, especially if they were visible in certain areas where there were a lot of tourists or in the South Reward-St. Peters school district, for this gave a sense of security.