Looking Beyond the License Plate Award Program

Entry Form (click here and then click on police vehicle in the upper right corner).

This national award program recognizes law enforcement officers whose observations of license plates have led to the arrest of suspects or to the solution of crimes.

The seventeenth annual Looking Beyond the License Plate award program is open to all sworn law enforcement officers and is conducted in cooperation with the IACP's Highway Safety Committee by the 3M Traffic Safety Systems Division (click here). The program solicits case histories that validate the importance of license plates as effective crime-fighting tools.

All entries in the program must be based on license plate observations by sworn law enforcement officers between June 1, 2013, and May 31, 2014.

The Looking Beyond the License Plate program is designed to substantiate and document the importance of license plates as law enforcement tools. Case histories submitted to the program's panel of judges provide valuable support to agencies involved in maintaining and advancing front and rear vehicle registration systems. Approximately 70 percent of all serious crime involves a motor vehicle, and law enforcement agencies nationwide acknowledge license plates are critical crime-fighting tools used to track and identify these offenders.

Moreover, this award program validates and promotes the dedication and initiative of officers whose daily efforts ensure the effectiveness of our nation's law enforcement system. Officers submitting entries will be recognized for their diligent work and a number of these case histories will be publicized.

Since its inception in 1998, the Looking Beyond the License Plate program has attracted well over 2,000 entries from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Canadian provinces. As often happens, many of the license plate observations cited in the entries led directly to the solution of a crime and the apprehension of a suspect, to the discovery of a fugitive wanted on an outstanding warrant, or to the arrest of a previous violator of a traffic or motor vehicle regulation.

The suspects were wanted in connection with one or more crimes, ranging from murder, prison escape, rape, kidnapping, drug possession, assault, burglary, robbery, and to a host of “moving” violations. Past winners have included officers whose keen observation skills led to the arrests of criminals who had murdered police officers.

The awards for the Looking Beyond the License Plate program are:

  • A Grand Prize of an all-expenses-paid trip to the 121st Annual IACP Conference in Orlando, Florida;
  • Five Meritorious Achievement Awards; and
  • Honorable-Mention Prizes to winning entrants in recognition of the officers' participation in this program.

If a jurisdiction prohibits an officer's acceptance of the Grand Prize, an in-kind donation—in lieu of the all-expense paid trip to the Annual IACP Conference—will be made to the Grand Prize winner's choice of a valid police fund or similar suitable organization which supports law enforcement. There is no limit on the number of entries an officer or a law enforcement agency submits to the program by the deadline.

For entry information and materials, contact:

3M Traffic Safety Systems Division
Attention: Looking Beyond The License Plate
3M Center, Building 235-3A-09
St. Paul, MN 55144

The International Association of Chiefs of Police: IACP Homepage