Funding cut for Texas clean air task forces

Funding for Texas task forces that get dirty cars and illegal cars off the streets has been cut.

In Dallas and other places, the task force is comprised of constables and sheriff's deputies looking for illegal vehicles, many of them riding with paper tags.

"I have traffic officers that enforce traffic law and are also looking for the fraudulent temporary paper tags out on the street," said Captain John Dohman, Dallas County Sheriff's Department.

When this started, the task force was chasing fake inspection stickers. After Texas eliminated inspection stickers, the task force is now focused on fake temporary tags.

"Cause right now you're on the hook," Dallas County Deputy David Sneed said. "You could be arrested for that tag. You could have a case filed on you for that."

In addition to busting the drivers, the task force catches the sellers and makers of these fake plates. These busts often lead to bigger cases, such as drugs, gun thefts, gangs and cartels.

The task force also catches people driving salvage cars. Salvage cars can only be sold for parts -- they can't legally be driven on the streets. Some drivers of these cars are not aware that they are driving an illegal car, because they were not told as much when buying the vehicle.

Rudolph Sheppard Jr. lost his car for this reason.

"It's wrong because I didn't know the person wasn't a right dealer," Sheppard said. "I just met her at an auction and she sold me a vehicle."

Because of a governor's veto, every statewide task force could soon be off the streets. The Dallas County task force lost $1 million a year from the state.

"We were surprised that the governor came in and vetoed on our appropriations," Dohman said. "We're not gonna have funds after the end of September."

The task force hopes their annual $1 million is put back during the special session. Meanwhile, the county and North Central Texas Council of Governments is trying to come up with some money to at least partially fund the program.

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