Looking Beyond the License Plate Award Program

2016 Application

The Looking Beyond the License Plate award program is a national award program that recognizes law enforcement officers whose observations of license plates have led to the arrest of suspects or to the solution of crimes. The award program is open to all sworn law enforcement officers and is conducted in cooperation with the IACP’s Highway Safety Committee. The program solicits case histories that validate the importance of license plates as effective crime-fighting tools.

Click here for the  2016 Application.  Applications must be submitted electronically by Sunday, May 15, 2016.

All entries in the program must be based on license plate observations by sworn law enforcement officers for the calendar year January 1, 2015- December 31, 2015.

Click here for the official rules.


The Looking Beyond the License Plate award 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 evaluators 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.

Since its inception in 1998, the Looking Beyond the License Plate award 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.

Please contact Amber Steinert at asteinert@mmm.com or call 651-736-5864, with questions regarding the program.

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